PH envoy, counterpart to discuss China's new fishing law

Posted at 01/11/2014 5:17 PM

MANILA -- Philippine Ambassador to China Erlinda Basilio will meet with her counterpart there to seek clarification on its new fishing rules in the South China Sea, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Saturday.

In an interview with radio dzRB, Valte said the government will decide its next move once it gets the clarification.

"The DFA is correct in insisting that it should be clarified properly. Mahirap pong mag-rely on iyong mga naririnig po natin. And especially when it comes to sensitive matters, our [DFA] has always endeavored to get an official clarification... Our ambassador in China will speak to her counterpart there to really get the lowdown on what these supposedly old regulations are," Valte said.

"We will act accordingly after that clarification or, at least, after that conversation has taken place. Because I think everyone will agree that as reported, it does raise a point of grave -- it's a grave concern for us," she added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday said it has requested China to immediately clarify their new fisheries law, explaining: "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."

It added that the rule "escalates tensions, unnecessarily complicates the situation in the South China Sea, and threatens the peace and stability of the region."

The United States also called China's move provocative and potentially dangerous.

China, meanwhile, insists their new rule is in accordance with international law.