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China’s Version of the Story on Removal of Floating Barriers at the Scarborough Shoal

{Editor’s Note: Last week many international media reported that China’s Coast Guard deployed floating barriers in the disputed Scarborough Shoal area to block Philippine fishing boats from entering those waters. The Philippine Coast Guard responded by cutting the ropes so that its fishermen could enter the lagoon and fish.}

China’s state media has said that reports about the Philippine Coast Guard are a lie, saying that it was China that removed the floating barrier from the Scarborough Shoal, not the Philippine Coast Guard. Xinhua published a statement by Chinese Coast Guard Spokesperson Gan Yu on September 28:

On September 22nd, official vessels of the Philippine Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Bureau illegally entered the waters near China’s Scarborough Shoal without China’s government approval, engaging in provocative activities. The Chinese Coast Guard lawfully employed measures such as verbal warnings and route controls to effectively manage the situation. They temporarily deployed anti-intrusion nets in response to the Philippine vessels’ attempt to forcibly enter the lagoon. On September 23rd [the China Coast Guard] proactively removed those blockades and restored the area to a state of normal control. These operations were conducted professionally and in accordance with the law. The Philippine claim that they removed Chinese barriers [by themselves] is entirely fabricated and self-staged.

Source: Xinhua, September 28, 2023