- Chinese Coast Guard ship blocked a Filipino fishing boat from entering disputed shoal
- They tailed the fishing boat, told the Filipinos to immediately leave the area
- Confrontation was recorded by TV news crew
MANILA, Philippines – In the latest round of tensions in the West Philippine Sea, Chinese vessels have blocked Filipino fishermen from entering the Scarborough Shoal.
The confrontation comes days after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) invalidated China’s 9-Dash Line and held it had no legal right to own the West Philippine Sea.
According to the ABS-CBN news crew who accompanied the fishermen, they were blocked from entering the fish-rich shoal by ships belonging to both the Chinese fishermen and their Coast Guard.
Zambrano said they were 40 miles from the shoal when a Chinese Coast guard vessel appeared and began tailing them.
“Minemegaphone kami, kinukunan kami ng litrato at video at sinasabi nila [They were using megaphones, they were taking our pictures, and they were saying], ‘This is China Coast Guard. This is a law-enforcement operation. We order you to leave the area immediately,'” reporter Chiara Zambrano said.
The team was also able to record the confrontation with the Chinese Coast Guard.
In the video, several Chinese officers in a rubber dinghy can be seen looking at the Filipino fishing boat; with one of them also recording the incident.
One of the men in the dinghy can also be seen telling the Filipinos over the megaphone “This is the Chinese Coast Guard, you should leave immediately.”
Because they were unable to fish inside the shoal, the fishermen were forced to fish in the surrounding area and only managed to get a small catch, Zambrano added.
Despite the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling that it had no legal right to the resource-rich West Philippine Sea, China has vowed not to back down and will continue pursuing its activities in the area.