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China: We Will Solve Philippines Fishing Rights as a Right to Life

Oct. 18, 2016 (EIRNS)—All Chinese newspapers today run articles and commentary welcoming Philippine President Duterte to China, as he arrives in the south today and will meet with the leaders in Beijing on Thursday.

The most interesting commentary, in the Global Times, reports that one expected outcome of the meetings will be an agreement on restoring Philippine fishing rights around the Scarborough Shoal. Their reasoning is important:

"In recent years, despite the rapid growth of the Philippine economy, the poverty rate has risen, and about 40 percent of the Philippines population is still facing food shortages. The fishing industry has created about 1.61 million jobs for the Philippines and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data shows that 38.7% of Philippines’ animal protein intake is from fish. In this context, many [Filipinos equate] ‘the right to fish’ to ‘the right to live.’"

In 2012, the previous Manila government sent Coast Guard boats to chase away Chinese fishing boats in the region, but China responded by sending their own Coast Guard boats and have kept Philippines boats away since then. With the conflict over sovereignty put aside as secondary, cooperation is again possible.

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