In a recent development, the Philippines has raised objections against China’s coast guard for the installation of a “floating barrier” within a disputed region of the South China Sea. This barrier has been accused of obstructing Filipino access to the area for fishing purposes.
Discovery of the Barrier:
Philippine coast guard and fisheries bureau personnel stumbled upon the controversial floating barrier during a routine patrol. The barrier, estimated to be approximately 300 meters (1,000 feet) in length, was located near the Scarborough Shoal, which is locally known as Bajo de Masinloc.
Filipino fishermen have reported that China frequently deploys such barriers when monitoring a significant number of fishermen in the vicinity. This has raised concerns among Filipino fisherfolk, who depend on the South China Sea for their livelihoods.
The situation escalated when China’s coast guard issued radio challenges, accusing the Philippine ship and fishermen of violating China’s maritime regulations. Tensions flared as Manila’s coast guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources protested against China’s actions.
Commodore Jay Tarriela, a spokesperson for the Philippine coast guard, posted a strong condemnation of China’s installation of the barrier on the X social media platform (formerly Twitter). Tarriela emphasized that the barrier prevents Filipino fishing boats from accessing the shoal, depriving them of their vital fishing and livelihood activities.
This recent incident further underscores the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea and the disputes over territorial claims. The Philippines’ denunciation of China’s actions adds to the complexities surrounding this maritime dispute, as nations continue to vie for control and access to these strategically important waters.