Marcos hoping Xi informed of China coast guard ‘driving away’ Filipino fishers

The Philippine side has used the mechanism that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he proposed in Beijing following reports that the Chinese coast guard drove away Filipino fishers in waters off Ayungin Shoal.advertisement

In an interview with television news anchors including Ivan Mayrina of GMA Integrated News, Marcos said he hoped that the Chinese side would bring the information to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“So we have immediately used that thing, that mechanism that I talked about [with which] we can even immediately contact the Chinese government, and hopefully our counterparts on the other side can bring it to President Xi’s attention, this problem, and we have done that,” Marcos said.

“But it does not preclude us from continuing to make protests and continuing to send note verbale concerning this,” he added.

Marcos said that he proposed the communication mechanism to Xi during his state visit to Beijing earlier this month. They have yet to reach an agreement on the matter.

Reports indicated that a CCG vessel 5204 and a speed boat drove Filipino fishermen away from the Ayungin Shoal, which is some 100 nautical miles off Palawan.

It is also near Mischief Reef, an area in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) reportedly occupied by China.

With this latest incident, Marcos said, “The actions that are needed are really from the Chinese side.”

“And that is because we do not send Coast Guard boats into what we consider their waters or international waters. They stay within Philippine waters,” Marcos said.

“And so that hopefully, as I said, the reason that it was important for me… Let me clarify what we talked about with President Xi. It was very simple. I said we have to raise the level of discourse between the Philippines and China,” he added.

“If President Xi puts out an order that we will not do that anymore, we will do something else, then I think it will be – I think the chain of command is fairly solid,” Marcos said.

Marcos in Beijing said he and Xi agreed to find a compromise and find measures that will be beneficial to Filipino fishermen.

During their bilateral meeting in Beijing, the two leaders “promised that we would find a compromise and find a solution that will be beneficial so that our fishermen might be able to fish again in their natural fishing grounds.”

The Philippines and China are at odds over the South China Sea, with Beijing claiming sovereignty over almost the entire area despite an international arbitral court ruling that its claims had no legal basis.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping claims to parts of the sea. —NB, GMA Integrated News

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