Following a diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines after the Chinese Coast Guard confiscated Filipino fishermen's fishing devices, the Chinese government told Manila to “immediately stop illegal provocations.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs lodged a diplomatic protest against China on August 20, three months after China dismantled and confiscated Filipino fishermen’s payaos in Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal). A payaos is a fishing device commonly used in Southeast Asia.
“The Department lodged today a diplomatic protest to China over the illegal confiscation by the Chinese Coast Guard of fish aggregating devices (payaos) of Filipino fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag Shoal) in May,” the DFA said on August 20.
It has become a common refrain for the Chinese government to label diplomatic protests by the Philippines as “illegal provocations,” especially when the Philippines would assert its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.
China considers the West Philippine Sea part of its territory based on historical claims, which was declared invalid and illegal by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in October 2015. The landmark decision also invalidated China’s so-called Nine-Dash Line, an imaginary territorial border it drew around the South China Sea.