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Philippine Waters Stripped by Chinese Fishermen

Daniel Kim Views  

AP Yonhap News

The Philippine government has claimed that an international investigation is needed into the environmental damage in the South China Sea reefs, where Chinese fishermen have indiscriminately harvested marine products, leaving species like giant clams extinct.

According to the Associated Press (AP) and Inquirer on the 22nd (local time), the Philippine Coast Guard held a press conference on the 20th and released photos taken at Scarborough Shoal, which is occupied by China. The photos captured hundreds of objects that appear to be giant clam shells, piled up on the seabed after the flesh has been removed. Jay Tarriela, a spokesperson commodore for the Philippine Coast Guard, stated, “This surveillance activity was halted in March 2019 because all the giant clams had disappeared.” He added that there were no more giant clams left to harvest and that the Chinese had scoured the entire seabed to find a single giant clam. Some of the corals around the reef were severely damaged, which the Philippine side claimed was “evidence of Chinese fishermen looking for giant clams.” The photo also captured a sea turtle that had died after getting caught in a net presumed to be from Chinese fishermen.

Tarriela stated, “This is evidence of China’s recklessness. They really don’t care about the marine environment.”

AP Yonhap News

The AP reported that the Philippines, which is in a dispute with China over the South China Sea, has adopted a policy of widely publicizing China’s actions in this sea area in hopes of gaining international support. Scarborough Shoal (Chinese name Huangyan Island) is a sandbar where both China and the Philippines claim sovereignty in the South China Sea. It is about 150 miles west of Luzon, the main island of the Philippines, and about 560 miles from Hainan, China.

In 2012, China forcibly occupied Scarborough Shoal, claiming sovereignty, and the Philippines filed a lawsuit with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In 2016, the PCA ruled that China’s claim of sovereignty had no basis under international law, but China has been ignoring it. On the 30th of last month, the Chinese Coast Guard even fired a high-pressure water cannon at the Philippine Coast Guard in this area.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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