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China and PH have not yet reached an agreement about the plight of PH fishermen: Marcos

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The Philippines and China have yet to establish a “compromise,” according to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who stated this on Monday, allowing Filipinos to fish in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

After the Philippine Coast Guard (PGC) revealed that it is looking into an incident involving a Chinese Coast Guard vessel that allegedly chased away a Filipino fishing boat at Ayungin Shoal earlier this month, Marcos made the remark.

A settlement was reached between Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the former’s visit to Beijing from January 3 to 5, and the incident took place just a few weeks after that.

“We haven’t reached that agreement yet. They shadow our fishing boats, which is what we mean when we talk about shadowing. Therefore, the incident took place immediately after I got back from China, he explained in a press conference at Malacaang Palace with a small group of reporters.

Following the incident, according to Marcos, the Philippine government used its “direct communication” with China to address a misunderstanding in the disputed sea.

During Marcos’ visit to China, a pact establishing a shared direct communication channel was signed.

“We have right away used the mechanism that I spoke about na sinabi (that says) we can even right away contact the Chinese government and hopefully, our counterparts on the other side can bring it to President Xi’s notice, this problem,” he said.

However, Marcos argued that they shouldn’t let this hotline stop them from submitting protests or mailing letters of protest.

He also hoped that China and the Philippines would soon reach an agreement allowing Filipinos to fish in the WPS.

“I simply hope we can agree because I do not see how doing that will benefit the Chinese. These fishing vessels lack weapons. They are not a danger to anyone. Therefore, I believe it is something we can accomplish in the near future, he stated.

China’s so-called “nine-dash line” map, which also includes the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, claims the majority of the South China Sea.

Beijing’s nine-dash line, which demarcates about 80% of the South China Sea, was unlawful by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which has its seat in The Hague. China is still disobeying the ruling.

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