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    Posted February 4, 2014 by

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    Philippines to look into China’s new rule

    PHILIPPINE lawmakers on Tuesday submitted House Resolution No. 671 directing the Committee on Foreign Affairs to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on China's New Sea Rules and the heightening of tensions in the West Philippine Sea.
    Representatives Neri Colmenares, Carlos Isagani Zarate and Antonio Tinio crafted the resolution in an effort to find a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea without meddling by the United States.
    The lawmakers said the inquiry would be conducted within the framework of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea signed by ASEAN members and the People's Republic of China."
    It can be recalled that on January 1, 2014, Hainan, a southern Chinese island province, implemented new rules that require foreign fishermen to seek permission from Chinese regional authorities before venturing out into the disputed West Philippines Sea.
    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the new Chinese policy was a "gross violation" of the UNCLOS, the international law that the Philippines invoked in taking its dispute with China over Scarborough Shoal to the United Nations for arbitration in January last year.
    "China's new fishing rules are contrary to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)," Colmenares and Zarate quoted the DFA as saying.
    They also noted that the fishing rules do not outline penalties, but the requirements are similar to a 2004 national law that says boats entering Chinese territory without permission can have their catch and fishing equipment seized and face fines of up to $82,000.
    As per HR 671, the country has territorial claims over parts of the Spratly group of islands located within the country's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, as stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which states that the coastal state has "sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters" 200 nautical miles from its coast.
    "In fact, an opposition to the said agreement on constitutional grounds was filed (by Bayan Muna) in 2008 and is still pending in the Supreme Court," the resolution said.
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