China eyes ‘wholesale’ access for PH at Panatag

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FOLLOWING the Philippines’ efforts to mend ties with China, a Chinese academic and government adviser has disclosed that Filipino fishermen could soon be granted full access to the disputed Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal).

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said Beijing was considering a “wholesale” deal with the Philippines involving fishing rights in the shoal’s waters.

This was said to have been part of the outcome of the October state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing that ended a squabble between the two South China Sea claimants.

“A wholesale bilateral fishing industry deal is still being discussed, an agreement has not yet been reached,” Wu was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.

The reported deal comes despite a July ruling from a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal that upheld Filipinos’ right to the resource-rich traditional fishing ground.

Located 124 nautical miles northwest of Luzon, Panatag is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone, based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

Duterte has vowed not to insist on the court award, and is even planning to unilaterally declare Panatag a marine sanctuary to ban fishing inside its lagoon.

The President’s groundbreaking trip to Beijing resulted in China allowing Filipino fishermen back in the waters around Panatag. Beijing seized the shoal, which it calls Huangyan Dao, from Manila during a 2012 standoff.

However, China’s coast guards have remained there and Filipinos are not allowed to fish inside the lagoon.

Reuters also quoted Zhu Feng, director of the South China Sea Center at Nanjing University, as saying there had been “fundamental change” since Duterte took office.

The success of the “Scarborough Shoal push” will indicate that territorial disputes can be resolved through diplomatic talks, he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing would make “proper arrangements for fishing activities by the Philippine fishermen in waters near Huangyan Dao in the interests of bilateral friendship.”

“We have seen a turnaround of China-Philippines relations marked by the successful visit by Philippine President Duterte. The two sides have reached consensus on coming back to the track of dialogue and consultation for the settlement of the South China Sea issue,” he said during a news briefing in Beijing.

China however maintains sovereignty and jurisdiction over Panatag, he said.

Pham Lan Dung, director of the Foreign Service Training Center at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, warned that any fishing arrangement at Panatag must include other nationals who exercise traditional rights to fish there.

“It is recognized that both the Philippines and China and other countries have traditional fishing rights in the Scarborough and these traditional fishing rights have to be respected by other parties, so if any party enforces actions that are not in conformity with the Unclos, then it would be in violation of international law,” she said.

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8 Comments

  1. China outsmarted the Philippines. “You, Filipinos can take the fish. We, Chingkit will take the military rights and eventually, the oil and natural gas.”

    Probably, the only power who can stop China is the United States. The USA military power will be strengthened by President-elect Donald J. Trump. Thanks, Obama, the weak president is out! Thanks, Hilary is out!

  2. Makapuna naman tong maka anti-president, ano ba naman nagawa nyo para sa bansa aber?! Mas gusto ko na lider na masama man sa paningin ng ilan, ramdam at kita mu pagmamahal sa bayan. Action (still) speaks louder than words!

  3. I suggest to all keyboard diplomats to please provide a viable solution to this dilemma that we are in. Should we confront or not to confront, which is more beneficial to our country most specifically the fishermen who’s livelihood depends on how we deal with china.. please go to Malacanang and tell our president your big IDEAS… that’s what he said isn’t it? that anyone who has better solution should go to him and tell him about it, and be part of the change in the government.. NOW GO…

  4. Ignacio Balbutin on

    Fishing rights is one thing and the digging of quadrillion barrels of oil and gas beneath the shoal is another thing. The chinese will be more than happy to let the fishermen fish there, irs nothing for them. What is important is the treasure beneath the shoal which help the Philippines rise up as one of the richest country in Asia. Will the Philippines just give it up to the Chinese? It will be treason to give an inch of our territory as the shoal is still part of our economic zones. Surrendering the treasures beneath the shoal is just like surrendering the future of the filipino people

  5. It’s very clear that Dugong sold Panatag to the chinks despite the international court ruling. Dugong cannot declare Panatag marine sanctuary because Ph does not own it . 16 million supporters of Dugong should be very proud of of this.., beg the chinks for use of your own eez.

    • Your a special kind of stupid. How did you know that he already sold the Panatag in just 5mos? that is chinese staement also and have you heard what the PH gov. responds to their staement?

  6. vagoneto rieles on

    “China however maintains sovereignty and jurisdiction over Panatag, he said.”
    Statement above is lifted from the press report, and it says it all. Panatag, while still part of the Philippine archipelago, is no longer Philippine territory. I wonder…what part of this island-chain is next to be ceded away.
    The stand-off with the Chinese over their occupation of Panatag seems to have been solved painlessly. Real pain, and, regret over the loss, however will be felt from here on out.

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