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China threatens its rivals anew
A Philippine lawmaker on Monday said China has again threatened other claimants to the disputed West Philippine Sea after the Hainan People's Provincial Congress issued a new fishing policy in the contested waters.
Party list Rep. Fernando Hicap said the new policy serves as threat to Filipino and other foreign fishermen conducting fishing activities in the disputed territory, which is also being contested by Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.
"This fishing policy will affect Filipino fishermen and fishing operators in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea," the lawmaker stressed in a press statement.
Fishermen coming from as far as Mindoro, Palawan, La Union and Pangasinan navigate and spin the area, which is very close to Zambales province.
"The national government must do more than ignore and clarify the Hainan fishing policy," Hicap told Philippines News Agency (PNA) reporter Sammy Martin.
He added: "It must assure the protection and economic livelihood of fishermen in the West Philippine Sea territories."
The new fishing policy that took effect January 1 this year requires foreign vessels passing through the disputed area to have approval from China's 2004 Fishing Law, which is being administered by the Hainan government.
The Chinese government has reportedly warned that law enforcers would expel any foreign fishing vessel that entered the waters without permission and confiscate its catch.
"To implement this law in disputed waters is certainly undiplomatic and equivalent to arrogance," Hicap pointed out.