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8月30日のまにら新聞から

China to look into allowing Filipinos to fish in South China Sea, ambassador says

[ 457 words|2016.8.30|英字 (English) ]

China will look into the possibility of allowing Filipinos to fish in Scarborough Shoal, its ambassador said on Monday.

"We are looking into the possibility how we handle it," Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua told reporters in an interview at the sidelines of the observance of the National Heroes Day in Taguig City.

He was reacting on the speech of President Rodrigo Duterte during the ceremony, asking China to allow the Filipino fishermen in the area, specifically Scarborough Shoal off Zambales province.

Filipino fishermen have been complaining they could hardly fish in the Scarborough Shoal because Chinese coast guards have been driving them away, sometimes by using water canons.

The situation has remained the same despite the July 12 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration favoring the Philippine petition against China's nine-dash line in the South China Sea.

Scarborough Shoal, which is within the 200-nautical miles exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, is also being claimed by China through its nine-dash line.

In his speech, Duterte told Zhao, who was present, "if we continue and treat each other with brothers and understand, especially the plight of the fishermen and they’re almost really, that’s why they are there because they are poor."

"And I know the dynamics inside China, it has been explained to me very well. But if we’ll not be, the Chinese people this time might find a place in their hearts for the Filipinos," he added.

Duterte said he would also not use the award of the arbitral tribunal to the Philippines when he talks to any Chinese official. But he added, he has to discuss the matter with China later.

"I will not use the judgment arbitral now, but I would one day sit in front of your representative or you and then I will lay bare my position and I would say that this paper I cannot get out of the four corners of this document and that’s just the arbitral judgment," he said.

Zhao said China looks forward to talking with the Philippines, but reiterated it would not accept the arbitration award.

"We look forward to talk to the Philippines bilaterally over the topics that we have. But right now, we need to change our focus, we need to change our focus from differences to common interests so that we can concentrate on cooperation that would benefit our two peoples," he said.

He also said Beijing has always been in favor of maritime cooperation with the Philippines and other southeast Asian countries to protect the ecosystem in the South China Sea.

"The Chinese government has even set aside the fund for maritime cooperation. I think between China and ASEAN, we've been cooperating quite well in that regard," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS