China continues to exercise its historical claim to the the disputed South China Sea by preventing Filipino fishermen from entering the region, though the Permanent Court of Arbitration has announced it invalid.
The fishermen, accompanied by reporters, were fishing along Scarborough Reef in the South China Sea on July 14 when they found themselves blocked by four Chinese coastguard ships who ordered them to “leave the area immediately,” according to CNN Philippines.
China claims to have territorial sovereignty over a major part of the South China Sea, including its land masses, for being the first country to discover and name the region in as early as the Han Dynasty.
The Hague ruling on the South China Sea dispute favoring the Philippines on July 12, 2016 has provoked a strong reaction from China. Lu Kang, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared on July 14 that anyone who intends to use the arbitration decision to make “provocations” regarding the South China Sea would meet with a “decisive response.” Lu also reaffirmed China’s stance, calling the ruling ineffective.
Pressure on the South China Sea dispute would make this maritime territory, which is rich in natural resources, a “cradle of war,” the Chinese regime says.
The U.S. has been engaged in quiet diplomacy to tone down the dispute, U.S. administration officials said on July 13. “What we want is to quiet things down so these issues can be addressed rationally instead of emotionally,” said one official, who wished to remain anonymous, according to Reuters.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, while calling China to respect the ruling of the international court, said that he will send his predecessor Fidel Ramos for talks with China, a move that Beijing has welcomed.