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Manila seeks clarification on Chinese fishing rules in South China Sea

Published on Jan 9, 2014 5:14 PM

MANILA/BEIJING (REUTERS) - The Philippines said it was seeking clarification of rules from China's Hainan province that say fishing boats need permission to enter waters under its jurisdiction, which the local government says covers much of the disputed South China Sea.

Such a move, if broadly enforced, could worsen tensions in the region. Beijing claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

The fishing rules follow China's creation of a controversial air defence identification zone in late November above the East China Sea in an area that includes islands at the heart of a bitter territorial row with Japan.

Hainan's legislature approved the rules in November and they took effect on Jan. 1, according to the website of the local government.

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