23 Mar 2021 | PH DFA Statement on Unauthorized and Lingering Presence of Chinese Fishing Vessels in and around Julian Felipe Reef
Department of Foreign Affairs
Republic of the Philippines
Statement on the Unauthorized and Lingering Presence of Chinese Fishing Vessels in and around Julian Felipe Reef
March 23, 2021
PASAY CITY – The Philippines demands that China promptly withdraw its fishing vessels and maritime assets in the vicinity and adjacent waters of relevant features in the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea, and to direct its fishing vessels to desist from environmentally destructive activities. The Philippines has been assiduously protesting the illegal and lingering (swarming) presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime assets in the said areas.
Julian Felipe Reef in the Kalayaan Island Group lies in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone. We reiterate that the continued deployment, lingering presence and activities of Chinese vessels in Philippine maritime zones blatantly infringe upon Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.
China’s continuing infringements and tolerance thereof, notwithstanding the persistent and resolute protests of the government of the Republic of the Philippines, are contrary to China’s commitments under international law and the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
Further, the Philippines calls on China to faithfully honor its obligations as a State Party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Se (UNCLOS) and to respect and abide by the final and binding 12 July 2016 Award in the South China Sea Arbitration.
In view of this position, the Philippine Government has formally lodged a new protest to the Chinese Government on the 21st of March 2021.
*Whitsun Reef is known as Julian Felipe Reef in the Philippines