China poaching of giant clams in Scarborough ‘affront’ to PH territory, sovereignty
MANILA, Philippines — China’s harvesting of giant clams in the Scarborough Shoal is an “affront” to the Philippines’ territory and sovereignty, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after ABS-CBN News reported that Chinese vessels were “mass harvesting giant clams” in Scarborough, which the country strongly claims as “our territory.”
“It’s our territory, therefore it is an affront to our territory and to our sovereignty,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“That’s why I share the sentiment of Sec. Locsin when he filed a diplomatic protest and said he will institute legal action,” he added.
Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone that Beijing seized after a two-month standoff with the Philippine Navy in 2012.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Monday said the government would be taking “legal action” against China’s action.
The report on China harvesting clams in Scarborough came as hundreds of Chinese vessels – believed to be maritime militias – were swarming near Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.
“The fact that we’ve already issued a diplomatic protest or note verbale is already a statement of the position of this government,” Panelo said.
The Palace official then insisted Manila’s sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.
“As far as we’re concerned, that is ours, we will be objecting to any intrusion to our own territory,” he said.
When asked if the Philippines’ would seek help from the United States following China’s continued aggression in the West Philippine Sea, Panelo said: “We will wait for the President’s decision on that. We will wait for him.”
“This will require serious study,” he added. /kga
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