News / Asia

    Philippines Detains Chinese Fishermen in South China Sea

    Simone Orendain
    Philippine National Police officials say authorities have arrested a group of fishermen in a Chinese vessel in contested waters of the South China Sea.
       
    South China Sea Territorial ClaimsSouth China Sea Territorial Claims
    x
    South China Sea Territorial Claims
    South China Sea Territorial Claims
    Philippine National Police Maritime Group Chief Noel Vargas says officers of his unit in Palawan province arrested Chinese and Filipino fishermen Wednesday at Half-Moon Shoal.  
     
    “There are locals, the Filipino fishermen involved and there is a fishing boat with a Chinese crew also involved,.  So the PNP team apprehended this crew together with the boats.”
     
    Vargas says both the Philippine and Chinese vessels had close to 500 sea turtles in them.  Catching sea turtles is banned in the Philippines.

    Vargas says the 15 people arrested would be charged once they arrived in Palawan province.  He says the trip back to Palawan is taking longer than expected because one of the vessels “is broken” and needs to be towed.  Vargas says details are still sketchy on the circumstances that led to their arrest.  

    Half Moon Shoal is among the Spratly Islands and lies about 100 kilometers west of southern Palawan.  It is within the Philippines 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.
     
    The Philippines says part of the Spratlys and some other outcroppings fall within its exclusive economic zone, while China says it has “indisputable sovereignty” over practically the entire South China Sea.  Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have partial or full claims to the sea which is teeming with marine life, is believed to hold vast gas and oil reserves and is a well traveled trade route.
     
    Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed the familiar Chinese line that human rights issues are China’s internal affairs and other nations should not meddle, Oct. 22, 2013.Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed the familiar Chinese line that human rights issues are China’s internal affairs and other nations should not meddle, Oct. 22, 2013.
    x
    Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed the familiar Chinese line that human rights issues are China’s internal affairs and other nations should not meddle, Oct. 22, 2013.
    Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed the familiar Chinese line that human rights issues are China’s internal affairs and other nations should not meddle, Oct. 22, 2013.
    At a regular briefing Wednesday China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying confirmed “a Chinese vessel was intercepted by a Philippine vessel.”

    She said, “Relevant authorities from China have arrived at the scene.  We ask the Philippine side to give their explanations and deal with this case properly.”

    When asked whether China condones the reported illegal catch of turtles, she said China’s regulations and laws “call on the fishermen to respect laws and follow relevant regulations.”

    An Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman says because Wednesday’s arrests were related to the poaching of sea turtles, the incident is a law enforcement matter, not a military matter.  

    The Philippines filed an arbitration case with a United Nations tribunal over what it calls China’s “excessive claims” in the sea.  China rejects arbitration and has not responded to the case.  At the end of March Manila submitted nearly 4,000 pages of supporting materials to the tribunal.  

    Relations between the two countries have become even more strained.

    In recent years China has stepped up civilian patrols of the contested waters.  Its surveillance ships have kept local fishermen out of Scarborough Shoal, which is 225 kilometers west of Zambales province in the Philippines.  The ships have also been circling Second Thomas Shoal near Palawan, where a tiny Philippine contingent is garrisoned at a grounded old military ship.

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.