Exercise restraint: Jinggoy reminds China of respect as arrest of South China Sea ‘trespassers’ loom

(POLITIKO) Senator Jinggoy Estrada has reminded China to respect the rules-based order amid reports that its coast guard was empowered to arrest those it deems “trespassers” in the South China Sea.

Estrada was reacting to Beijing’s alleged “regulatory document” that allowed the China Coast Guard (CCG) to detain suspects for up to 60 days without trial if found “trespassing” in the disputed waters, according to a South China Morning Post report.

The new document was released in the aftermath of the successful Atin Ito mission to supply food and fuel to fisherfolk near Scarborough Shoal.

“We’re awaiting the pronouncement of the Department of Foreign Affairs if they have received any official document on this,” Estrada, who chairs the Senate national defense and security committee, said on Friday (May 17).

“Nonetheless, we have taken note of this matter. While we respect China’s right to safeguard its territorial interests, we also emphasize the importance of adhering to international norms and agreements,” he added.

Estrada said the Philippines will not be cowed by China’s perceived threat to arrest Filipinos who are merely defending the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

“The Philippines remains committed to upholding our rights and interests in the West Philippine Sea,” Estrada said.

“We hope China will likewise respect the rights of other nations operating in these waters. We encourage all parties to exercise restraint and seek peaceful solutions to disputes,” he added.