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(Opinion) China, Philippines Spar Over South China Sea Run-Ins

2015-04-25 10:07:37       source:NISCSS

By Shannon Tiezzi

April 25, 2015

"China and the Philippines verbally clashed over the South China Sea this week, with Manila accusing China of harassing both fishermen and a military patrol in the disputed maritime region.

On Tuesday, the Philippines said that the Chinese Coast Guard used water cannons on a group of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, damaging some of the fishermen's boats. Hong Lei, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry said the Chinese vessels were performing "guard duty in waters off the Huangyan Island [the Chinese name for Scarborough Shoal] to maintain the normal order of these waters in accordance with the law." Hong added that Manila should "show earnest respect for China's territorial sovereignty, step up its regulation and education of the fishermen and stop all actions infringing upon China's territorial sovereignty, and rights and interests.”

The Philippines effectively lost access to the Scarborough Shoal after a tense standoff between Chinese and Philippines vessels in April 2012. Since then, China's Coast Guard has maintained tight control over the area, but Philippine fishermen still attempt to reach what they claim as their traditional fishing grounds."

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