Disputed China Region SeaBEIJING – Chinese patrols enforcing disputed new fishing rules in the South China Sea are apprehending foreign boats that do not have Chinese licenses to fish in the South China sea, Communist Party officials said last March 7.

In comments that provide the first window into how China is enforcing its new rules criticized by Washington, the party secretary for Hainan Island said Chinese patrols attempted to peacefully negotiate with vessels that initially ignored warnings to leave Chinese waters.

“First of all we would try to dissuade them, tell them to get out of the South China sea, this is our area, and then we negotiate and dissuade as much as possible,” Luo Baoming, party secretary for Hainan province, said.

The Philippines and Vietnam have accused Chinese patrol vessels of firing water cannon and using aggressive means to intimidate and threaten its fishermen near disputed areas.

Luo said that authorities based in Sansha City on Woody Island, which administers the mostly uninhabited Paracel islands, were regularly dealing with fishing vessels entering their waters.

Vietnamese fishermen routinely attempt to fish in the Paracels, despite the capture of hundreds in past campaigns.  Vietnam describes the area as its legal and sovereign fishing grounds.

Luo did not provide specific numbers but said, “There’s something like this happening every day, the majority are dealt with by negotiationsand persuasion.”

New rules issued by Hainan this year require all foreign fishing boats to secure permits to enter South China Sea waters in its jurisdiction, which essentially covers much of the entire South China Sea. The issuance of the rules alarmed the region, already concerned by China’s aggressive moves to assert its sovereignty. (ABS-CBN News)