South China Sea: Duterte to China — Understand the plight of our fishermen (China fears the Philippines will wake up and realize Duterte and the Filipinos own the South China Sea, not China)

 

Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua says the policy towards Filipino fishermen is still being ‘hammered out’ but that the Chinese government looks forward to bilateral talks with the Philippines

August 29, 2016

DUTERTE AND CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte meets Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua at Malacañang Palace in July 2016. File photo from Presidential Photographers Division

DUTERTE AND CHINA. President Rodrigo Duterte meets Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua at Malacañang Palace in July 2016. File photo from Presidential Photographers Division

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte, on National Heroes’ Day, called on China to consider the plight of Filipino fishermen hoping to make a living from the bounty of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“If we continue to treat each other like brothers and understand, especially the plight of the fishermen, that’s why they are there because they are poor…The Chinese people this time might find a place in their hearts for Filipinos,” said Duterte on Monday, August 29, to an audience that included Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua.

Filipino fishermen continue to be prevented by Chinese Coast Guard vessels from entering parts of the West Philippine Sea, including fish-abundant Scarborough Shoal, despite an international arbitration court’s ruling that China’s sweeping claims are not valid.

During his National Heroes’ Day speech, Duterte appealed to the Chinese not to treat Filipinos as enemies.

“I hope you treat us rather not as enemies and take note of the plight of our citizens,” he said.

Addressing the Chinese Ambassador, Duterte promised not to bring up the controversial West Philippine Sea ruling outside bilateral talks between Manila and Beijing.

But he said the ruling would have to be discussed once representatives of the countries are face to face in formal negotiations. (READ: Duterte to China: You can’t avoid Hague ruling)

“I will not use the judgement, arbitral, now but I would one day sit in front of the representative or you and then I will lay it bare, my position. I would say that I could not get out of the 4 corners of this document and that is the arbitral judgement,” Duterte said.

The President even managed to crack a joke about the Philippines’ military preparations against future aggression from China.

“But for now Mr Ambassador, I want to just talk to you for a moment, maybe give us time to build our forces also, you have so much superiority,” he said, eliciting chuckles from the audience.

Zhao, in a chance interview with reporters, said he appreciated Duterte’s appeal to preserve the friendship between Chinese and Filipinos.

“The Filipinos are always in the hearts of Chinese people. We have been friends, partners, even relatives, for a thousand years despite the troubles we have. We’re confident the friendship will be deepened,” said the Chinese diplomat.

Zhao repeated China’s stance of not recognizing the Hague ruling but said the Chinese are looking forward to bilateral talks between the two countries.

“We cannot accept the arbitration award but we do look forward to talk to the Philippines bilaterally of the troubles we have,” said Zhao.

As for letting Filipino fishermen fish in the West Philippine Sea, he said, “We’ll look at the possibility of how we handle it. The details are not hammered out yet but we need to discuss with the Filipino side. I don’t know the exact situation on the sea but we’ll look at the possibilities.”

Zhao emphasized the need for the two countries to discuss common interests, not just issues where their positions are conflicting.

“Right now we need to change our focus. We need to change our focus from differences to common interests so we can concentrate on cooperation that will benefit our two peoples,” he said.

Duterte’s trip to China by the end of 2016 is being planned with Zhao’s help, said Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr last August 25.

In the meantime, Duterte’s envoy to China, former president Fidel Ramos, continues informal discussions with Chinese contacts, said Duterte on Monday afternoon. – Rappler.com

http://www.rappler.com/nation/144520-duterte-china-filipino-fishermen-west-philippine-sea

Related:

 (Contains links to several related articles)

 (New York Times Editorial)

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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called on China to abide by The Hague international court ruling and urged a peaceful resolution to the dispute

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While Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton began what was called the “U.S. pivot to Asia.” In this photo, Hillary Clinton talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. on September 5, 2012. Today Hillary Clinton is running to become the next President of the United States and China’s former Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has been promoted to the number three leadership within the Chinese Communist Party. China seems to be in control of most of the South China Sea and is pressuring all U.S. allies from Japan to Australia to Singapore to ally themselves with China or face consequences. In 2012, Hillary Clinton was a big advocate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). After Donald trump said the TPP was not a good deal for American workers, Hillary Clinton became against the TPP.

 (Contains links to many related articles) (The Chinese government seems to be indicating it will take over the East China Sea and deny Japan its claims)

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