The ghost of the 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off
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Once again, the enigmatic and massive presence of Chinese fishing vessels that are believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia are in the Philippine Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ), particularly in the Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef), in another swarming maneuver that is part of China’s aggressive expansionism in the West Philippine Sea. Belligerently banking on their debunked nine-line claim, China not only continues to negate and evade the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Arbitral Ruling of 2016, but also deprives the littoral states of their maritime and sovereign rights. On March 20, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana informed the Filipino nation that an estimated 220 Chinese fishing vessels were suspiciously moored in Julian Felipe Reef, a boomerang-shaped feature that emerges above the water only during low tides, that is located approximately 175 nautical miles west of Bataraza, Palawan. The National Task Force for the West Philippines Sea warned of overfishing and destruction of the maritime environment.
De Castro, R. (2021, April 14). The ghost of the 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off. BusinessWorld, p. S1/6.
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Exclusive economic zone; United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea; Law of the sea; International law; Territorial waters; Disputes; Fishing vessels; Military operations; United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); Department of National Defense (DND); National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS); Philippine Navy; Philippine Coast Guard (PCG); People’s Liberation Army (PLA); China Law Enforcement Command; Lorenzana, Delfin; Aquino, Benigno III
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