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    Posted May 9, 2014 by

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    Philippines: An exercise of sovereignty

    THE Philippine government on Friday maintained that the arrest of Chinese poachers in the Half Moon Shoal was undertaken to enforce its maritime laws and to uphold the country’s sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone.
    Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a media briefing, reiterated the statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) explaining the reason for the arrest.
    “We reiterate that the apprehension made by the PNP (Philippine National Police) Maritime Group at Half Moon Shoal was undertaken to enforce Philippine maritime laws and to uphold the country’s sovereign rights over our exclusive economic zone (EEZ),” Coloma said.
    Coloma said the government continues to stand by its commitment to a peaceful and rules-based approach to the resolution of disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
    Early this week, the PNP Maritime Group seized a Chinese fishing boat carrying large numbers of endangered species, particularly 500 turtles.
    Aside from capturing the boat, the maritime police also arrested about 10 personnel and its captain, Chen Hi Quan.
    While the Philippines wants to settle the sea dispute through peaceful and rules-based means, China is firm on its nine-dash line approach.
    The nine-dash line is a U-shaped chain of a dotted line that outlines China’s territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea which has become a regular attachment to the Chinese map.
    China has also resorted to aggressive actions, previously expelling Filipino fishermen from the Scarborough Shoal.
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