Manila vows to remove barrier placed by China’s coast guard at a disputed site

Philippine officials have vowed to remove a barrier installed by the Chinese coast guard in the disputed Scarborough Shoal lagoon in the South China Sea, proclaiming it illegal.

Driving the news: China’s coast guard placed a 300-meter (980-foot) -long barrier to prevent Filipino fishing boats from entering the lagoon last Friday.
* This action impacts more than 50 Philippine fishing boats in the vicinity according to the Philippine coast guard.
* Philippine National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano promised measures to remove the barriers and protect the rights of its fishermen.

Foreign Affairs: This is the latest incident in a series of territorial disputes primarily between China and other nations including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.
* These disputes, set in a highly trafficked and resource-rich waterway, are considered a potential flashpoint in Asia and a sensitive issue in U.S.-China relations.
* The U.S. has publicized its commitment to defending the Philippines, its oldest treaty ally in Asia, if it comes under attack, including in the South China Sea.

What’s at stake: The Chinese barrier blocks Filipinos from accessing a profitable fishing lagoon surrounded by underwater coral outcrops.
* China is viewed as frequently installing the removable barrier whenever Philippine fishing boats arrive in large numbers.
* The Philippines maintains that it has exclusive rights to fish and access other resources within this zone, a claim upheld by a 2016 arbitration ruling under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

View original article on NPR

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