TAIPEI, TAIWAN —
China’s plan to declare an unusually strict fishing moratorium in the contested South China Sea this year threatens to shake relations with its neighbors, despite dialogue in recent months, and might violate a 2016 world arbitration court ruling, experts say.
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said in February it would impose its strictest fishing moratorium in May to protect stocks. The moratorium will cover the South China Sea south to the 12th parallel, lopping off waters claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Beijing has enforced past South China Sea fishing moratoriums, the first of which was announced in 1995, by seizing fishing boats. If it does that again, it risks losing improved relations with Vietnam and the Philippines, analysts say.