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Incidents of Chinese fishermen poaching sea turtles in the West Philippine Sea only prove now that China is not only a threat to the Philippine territory, but also to the country’s environment and biodiversity.

Philippine authorities said they seized a Chinese fishing boat with 11 crew members and carrying more or less 500 turtles and a local vessel with more or less 40 turtles.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed concern over the most recent report, saying that the vessels appeared to be engaged in direct harvest of endangered species of sea turtles.

China said that it lost contact with the 11 fishermen, and demanded the immediate release of the boat and its crew. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying warned the Philippines against taking any “further provocative action.”

Meanwhile, Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello and members of Akbayan Partlist slammed the Chinese government for labelling the capture and filing of charges against the poachers as “provocative action.”

According to Bello, China’s continuing aggression is an indication that it has “morphed from a regional bully into an environmental terrorist.”

Not satisfied with its continuing aggression on baseless claims on Philippine territory, it has resorted to actively engaging in illegal activities that, in effect has long-term disastrous results on the Philippines’ environmental resources.

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