MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday revealed that fishermen in the Philippines might soon be able to fish again in the disputed Scarborough Shoal after he met the Chinese authorities.
President Rodrigo Duterte stated on Sunday that Filipinos might soon be able to exercise their fishing rights again in the disputed Scarborough Shoal after his meeting with Chinese authorities.
Duterte made the remark during his visit to typhoon-hit Tuguegarao in Cagayan Province, where he touched on his recent state visit to China.
"We did not talk about arms, we didn't speak about war. We discussed how to help each other. We will just wait for a few more days. Our countrymen might be able to return to Scarborough Shoal for fishing," Duterte noted in his speech while addressing the victims of Typhoon Haima.
Duterte in China to promote economic ties
After returning from Beijing, Duterte on Friday said he raised the Scarborough Shoal issue in "private talks" with the Chinese authorities but refused to elaborate on their meeting, saying he was leaving the matter to them.
"Yes, of course, we did (bring up the issue). I leave it to the Chinese authorities what they will do in the next few days. We spoke about it, but I leave it to them, but let's see. Let's see what develops in the days to come," he said in a press briefing in Davao.
Duterte had earlier said that the Philippines "cannot win" the case of the Scarborough or the Panatag Shoal, the traditional fishing ground that China had seized from the country after a two-month standoff in 2012.
The president said he has a "good feeling" the Philippines will be "ok" with China as long as Filipinos do not claim Panatag.
The UN-backed arbitral tribunal in The Hague ruled that all claimants can fish at the Scarborough Shoal, but China rejected the ruling and drove Filipino fishermen away from the shoal.
The Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the tribunal, which invalidated Beijing's claims to almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea.