Fishing Deal, Initial Step to Restore Sino-Philippine TiesPosted: August 12, 2016
SCMP says in its report “China-Philippines fishing deal ‘may help calm troubled South China Sea waters”, “Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said Ramos’ five-day fence-mending trip to Hong Kong could help lower tensions raised by the South China Sea disputes.”
According to Wu, Beijing and Manila could explore ways to open the Scarborough Shoal to fishermen from both countries. That will be the restoration of the status before the Scarborough standoff caused by Former Philippine President Aquino’s provocation to ban Chinese fishermen from fishing at Scarborough Shoal.
Before the standoff, China always allowed Philippine fishermen to fish inside and around the shoal.
Philippine fishermen who rely on fishing in the area for their survival are now in misery and Philippine new president Duterte is anxious to resolve the problem and enable them to fish there again. However, China, though is willing to allow Philippine fishermen to fish as they did in the past, would not let the Philippines regard that as China’s acceptance of the Hague arbitration ruling.
The Philippines, however, has difficulties to disregard the ruling that it has spent at least US$30 million to obtain and the rising nationalism caused by the ruling.
SCMP says, “A statement signed by Ramos, Fu and Wu said that in addition to marine conservation and fishing rights, the two nations should cooperate on tourism, investment, and cracking down on drugs and corruption.”
China has to provide quite a few sweeteners to attract the Philippines. However, China will not lose anything as those are in fact win-win cooperation. I hope there will be real progress in improvement of the relations between the two country.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2003044/china-philippines-fishing-deal-may-help-calm-troubled.