China rejects Philippine allegations of stealing fish

China on Friday rejected accusations that its coast guard seized fish caught by Filipino fishermen in the South China Sea, urging the Philippines to stop illegally fishing in Chinese waters.

The Philippine Fisheries Bureau on Thursday said Chinese coast guards boarded two Philippine fishing boats near Huangyan Island on April 11, and took the crew’s catch.

Huangyan Island is Chinese territory. The coast guard patrols the waters to maintain order in the area, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing.

He urged the Philippines to respect China’s territorial sovereignty and to ensure its fishermen are aware of the illegality of fishing in waters of the Huangyan Island.

Hong also dismissed media reports that a Chinese warship on Friday had shone a powerful light on a Philippine military plane near China’s Nansha Islands in the South China sea as “untrue”.

Philippine planes have illegally flown over Chinese waters on numerous occasions recently and China’s guarding forces had issued a radio warning, the spokesperson added.

He said China’s armed forces will continue to conduct surveillance over the waters and sky.

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