CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines — A fishermen’s group yesterday urged the United Nations to declare Beijing’s controversial Coast Guard Law “null and void,” saying the law could be used against Philippine vessels on fishing expeditions within Chinese-occupied waters in the West Philippine Sea.
Enacted on Jan. 22, the Coast Guard Law explicitly empowers the Chinese Coast Guard to fire at non-Chinese vessels entering Beijing-claimed territories in the South China Sea.
In a statement, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said Beijing’s recent legislation is “undisputedly an act of aggression” against countries challenging China’s claim over nearly the entire South China Sea, including 80 percent of the West Philippine Sea.
Pamalakaya said the law is an “outright disregard” of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS, which already ruled in favor of the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea and invalidated China’s nine-dash line historical claim.
“We humbly appeal to the UN to decisively intervene on this matter by declaring the Coast Guard Law null and void as it does not only violate the international law of the sea, but it also poses threat to livelihood and security of claimant nations’ respective fisherfolk,” Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said.
Pamalakaya also called on the international community to “collectively denounce China’s militarization and aggression of the South China Sea.”
“This militarization should not only concern the claimant countries, but the international community as well. It is high time for every country, claimants and non-claimants of the South China Sea, to unite and put external pressure against China and uphold the freedom of navigation and innocent passage in the international waters,” Hicap said.