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27 May, 2013

Fishermen pay price in Asia’s volatile sea rifts – Manila Bulletin

Large swarms of fishing fleets are getting entangled in an expanding labyrinth of Asian territorial conflicts. The stakes are rising as China and other rival claimants in the South China Sea pour more air, naval and paramilitary forces into the area, increasing the risk of confrontations.

Chinese maritime surveillance ships took control of Scarborough, which Beijing calls Huangyan Island, and roped off the entrance to its vast fishing lagoon following a two-month standoff with Philippine government ships last year. The chain of reefs and rocks 230 kilometers 143 miles west of the northwestern Philippine province of Zambales falls under its 200-nautical mile 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone, Filipino officials say.

The area lies about 870 kilometers 542 miles from China’s nearest coast. Some other South China Sea islands claimed by China are much closer than that, but those are also claimed by other countries, including Taiwan and Vietnam.

Read the rest:  Fishermen pay price in Asia’s volatile sea rifts – Manila Bulletin.