China protests `harassment` of its fishermen

Countering Philippines claims, Liu reiterated that Huangyan Island is an integral part of Chinese territory.

Updated: Apr 11, 2012, 23:19 PM IST

Beijing: China has lodged a protest to the
Philippines alleging harassment of its fishermen by the
Philippine Navy in a lagoon in its Huangyan Island in the
South China Sea.

According to the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, 12
Chinese fishing boats were moving into the lagoon to take
shelter due to harsh weather conditions, when a Philippine
Naval gunboat blocked the entrance of the lagoon.

They then dispatched 12 Philippine soldiers to the
lagoon, six of whom were armed, and then harassed the Chinese
fishermen, official media here reported.

Two Chinese Marine Surveillance ships, which were doing
routine patrol in the area when the incident took place, were
immediately sent to the site to protect the fishermen and
their boats, according to a statement released by China`s
State Oceanic Administration today.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the
so-called law-enforcement actions by the Philippine side in
the water of Huangyan Island was an infringement of China`s
sovereignty, and violated bilateral consensus on maintaining
the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

He called for the Philippines to avoid actions that could
complicate and aggravate the situation. He said the relevant
Chinese department has dispatched official ships to Huangyan
Island, and the Chinese vessels and fishermen are safe at
present.

Countering Philippines claims, Liu reiterated that
Huangyan Island is an integral part of Chinese territory and
China has indisputable sovereignty over the island.

"We urge the Philippine side to proceed based on our
bilateral friendship as well as the peace and stability of the
South China Sea. We call on them to stop making new troubles,
and work with China to create good conditions for the healthy
and stable development of bilateral ties," he said.

According to the administration, all these Chinese
fishermen were from the country`s southern province Hainan,
and they are currently in safety and emotionally stable.

PTI