Chinese embassy denies harassment of Filipino fishermen

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2021 07:27 PM

Chinese embassy denies harassment of Filipino fishermen 1
A child holds national flags of China and the Philippines before President Rodrigo Duterte and China President Xi Jinping attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 20, 2016. Thomas Peter, Reuters/File

MANILA - The Chinese embassy in the Philippines on Monday dismissed as "fake news" reports about the alleged harassment of Filipino fishermen and what they described as the sensationalizing of the entry of a Chinese scientific survey ship into Philippine waters as an "intrusion."

In a statement about China’s coast guard law, the embassy claimed that "some forces in the Philippines" misinterpreted China’s "normal legislation."

"Some forces in the Philippines, either for their own political interests or out of prejudice toward China, have not only misinterpreted China's normal legislation, but also fabricated and spread relentlessly fake news... despite repeated denial from authorities concerned including the Philippine Armed Forces," the statement read.

"They have also gone as far as to sensationalize the entry of a Chinese scientific survey ship into Philippine waters as an 'intrusion.'"

It said that the Chinese scientific survey ship "is seeking humanitarian shelter in Philippine waters due to unfavorable weather and sea conditions in the Pacific where they are scheduled to conduct research mission" and sought the proper clearance and assistance from the Philippine government.

"The ship has sought clearance and humanitarian assistance from the Philippine government and maintained communication with its relevant authorities all the time," the Chinese Embassy said.

"Under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and international customary law, every coastal state is obliged to provide necessary humanitarian assistance to save life at sea. It is a fact that China and the Philippines have been rendering assistance to each other on many similar humanitarian occasions," it added.

The embassy issued the statement when asked about presence of a Chinese survey ship in Catanduanes. 

"Everyone is entitled freedom of speech. However, malicious hype-up and irresponsible and baseless accusations that run counter to common sense, are not acceptable and should not be appeased in a society that believes in rule of law and international norms as well as mutual respect."

The Chinese embassy said its coast guard law does not specifically target any specific country and that it is "committed to managing differences with countries including the Philippines through dialogue and consultations and upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea."

It added that the law is "a normal domestic legislative activity of China" and that it "conforms to international conventions and the practices of the international community."

"China Coast Guard Law doesn't specifically target any certain country," it said.

"The enact of the law doesn’t indicate any change of China’s maritime policy," it said.

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