China recently announced suspension of holiday trips to its neighboring country the Philippines and asked concerned agencies to tighten the inspection of fruits coming from Manila. The actions are believed to apply economic pressure after the standoff of the two countries at the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

The tourism board of Shanghai released a suspension of tours going to the Philippines indefinitely. An online travel agency also suspended trips due to safety concerns as there are reports that the anti-China sentiments in the Philippines will be high.

The matter over the Scarborough Shoal is a very sensitive matter aggravated by a news anchor in China blurting out during live broadcast that the Philippines is a territory of China. The videos about the said report was immediately taken down.

The Chinese embassy in Manila also released a travel warning to its citizens as protests are scheduled to assert the claims of the Philippines over the disputed shoal. Reports from Manila say that different Filipino communities in North America and Europe will also be launching protests on respective embassies of China.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities will be implementing stricter inspections of fruits like pineapples and bananas that are imported from the Philippines. Agriculture is about 12 percent of the economy of the Philippines but the impact will not be devastating since China is not its primary market of fruits. Tourism officials in the Philippines revealed that about 9% of the country’s tourists comes from China.

Beijing tries to apply some economic squeezing to its neighbor following a diplomatic tension after Chinese fishermen were spotted by the Philippine Navy doing illegal fishing and upon inspection, the Chinese had endangered species in their vessels.

The standoff has been for a month with two countries maintaining their presence at the Scarborough Shoal which is a rich fishing area and believed to be wealthy in mineral resources.

The disputed Scarborough Shoal is within the 220 mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines as declared by the UNCLOS while China makes use of their 9-dash line map to claim the whole of the South China Sea.



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