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Carpio refutes Duterte: WPS is not in China’s possession Carpio corrects Duterte: China ain’t in possession of West PH Sea

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Supreme Court (SC) Justice Antonio Carpio on Tuesday (July 23) reminded President Rodrigo Duterte that China is not in possession of the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“China is not in possession of the WPS,” Carpio said in response to the statements made by Duterte during Monday’s (July 22) State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“Foreign naval powers ( US, UK, France, Australia, Japan, and Canada) continuously sail and conduct naval drills in the South China Sea, including the WPS, demonstrating that China is not in possession of the WPS,” he stressed.

Carpio added that China only possess seven percent of the WPS including Sandy Cay which was seized during the Duterte administration.

The other areas include seven features in the Spratlys plus Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio also disagreed with Duterte that Recto Bank is a traditional fishing ground where China could be allowed to fish.

“Traditional fishing applies only in the territorial sea and archipelagic waters. There is no traditional fishing in the EEZ (exclusive economic zone). This is very clear in the arbitral award of 12 July 2016. Reed Bank is part of Philippine EEZ. There can be no traditional fishing in Reed Bank,” the magistrate pointed out.

“Traditional fishing is artisanal fishing using small, simple fishing boats like the wooden boats, with outriggers, of Filipino fishermen. The Chinese steel-hulled trawlers cannot qualify for traditional fishing,” he explained.

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