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MANILA 26 May 2024 – The Department of Foreign Affairs expresses serious concern on China’s issuance of its “Regulations on Administrative Law Enforcement Procedures for Coast Guard Agencies.” The regulation was approved and announced on 15 May 2024, and is supposed to take effect on 15 June 2024.

Every sovereign state has the right to formulate and enact laws, including the enforcement of domestic legislation within its jurisdiction. However, a state’s domestic laws may not be applied and enforced in the territory, maritime zones or jurisdiction of other states, nor violate other sovereign states’ rights and entitlements under international law. These same domestic laws cannot be applied nor enforced in the high seas under international law.

The Department notes that the regulations are issued on the basis of the 2021 Coast Guard law which also illegally expanded the maritime law enforcement powers of China’s Coast Guard. China would be in direct violation of international law should it enforce these new regulations in the waters and maritime features within the illegal, null and void, and expansive 10-dash line, which would effectively cover areas of the West Philippine Sea where the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, or in the high seas.

China must ensure that its relevant legislation clearly reflect and abide by its commitments and obligations under international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the binding 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea, as well as the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

We reiterate our call for China to comply with international law and desist from any action that would undermine peace and security in the region. END

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