FROM MALAY MAIL ONLINE
BEIJING, March 7 — China’s fishermen operating in the South China Sea give proof of the country’s maritime rights and interests, a government official said today, referring to ships on the frontlines of China’s push to assert its claims in disputed waters.
China has come under fire from the United States and its allies in recent months over its land reclamation activities in the South China Sea’s disputed Spratly archipelago.
Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion (RM20.47 trillion) in ship-borne trade passes annually, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims.
Luo Baoming, the Communist Party boss of the southern island province of Hainan, made the comments during the annual session of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC).
“If it can be said that that we want to safeguard China’s rights and interest in the South China Sea, fishermen, because they have been living and surviving on fishing for the past thousand years, have been proof of our rights and interests,” Luo said, in response to a Reuters question.
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