MANILA – The Philippines denounced Friday a new Chinese law that Manila says compels foreign vessels to seek a permit from Chinese regional authorities for activities in large areas of the South China Sea, including portions referred to by Manila as the West Philippine Sea.
“We have requested China to immediately clarify the new fisheries law issued by the Hainan Provincial People’s Congress,” the Filipino foreign department said in a statement.
“We are gravely concerned by this new regulation that would require foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval from Chinese regional authorities before fishing or surveying in a large portion of the South China Sea.”
Press reports said the law was passed last year and took effect on January 1.
China claims almost all the South China Sea but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.