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In a recent move, the Philippine coastguard removed a barrier set by China in the contested South China Sea region.
According to Philippine Coastguard spokesman Jay Tarriela, the Philippine Coastguard executed a special operation after receiving directives from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Tarriela stated that the barrier was “a hazard to navigation” and impeded the activities of local fishers in BDM or the Scarborough Shoal, emphasizing it as “a clear violation of international law.”
Images shared online captured a diver severing the barrier’s cables while other personnel were seen taking out its anchor.
This decisive measure came after Marcos’s national security adviser, Eduardo Ano, hinted earlier that Manila intended to oversee the barrier’s removal.
Chinese Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, defended the barrier’s placement, stating it was a measure against a Philippine vessel but didn’t clarify the legal rationale.
China, which lays claim to a significant portion of the South China Sea overlapping with other nation’s Exclusive Economic Zones, has had its barrier action declared illegal by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.
The shoal, considered part of the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile EEZ by international law, was taken over by Beijing in 2012, pushing Filipino fishers to go farther for their catch.