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South China Sea: Philippines strongly criticizes Beijing’s use of a ‘floating barrier’ to obstruct Philippines fishermen.

South China Sea: Philippines strongly criticizes Beijing’s use of a ‘floating barrier’ to obstruct Philippines fishermen.

The Philippine coastguard has expressed concern that the installation of a ‘floating barrier’ by China is impacting the livelihoods of local residents, particularly in their fishing activities.

This barrier, positioned near the contested Scarborough Shoal, which is locally referred to as Bajo de Masinloc, was reportedly established by three Chinese coastguard vessels and a Chinese maritime militia vessel.

On Sunday, the Philippines accused China’s coastguard of setting up this obstruction in the South China Sea, alleging that it obstructed Filipinos from accessing and fishing in the region.

Manila’s coastguard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources have issued a strong condemnation of China’s actions, as conveyed by Commodore Jay Tarriela, a coastguard spokesperson, on the X social media platform (formerly known as Twitter).

The barrier blocking fishermen from the shoal was “depriving them of their fishing and livelihood activities”, he said.

“The [Philippine coastguard] will continue to work closely with all concerned government agencies to address these challenges, uphold our maritime rights and protect our maritime domains,” Tarriela said.

China claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, overlapping with the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines. Beijing seized the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 and forced fishermen from the Philippines to travel further for smaller catches.

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