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China, Philippines ‘Friendly Understanding’ Now Official on Fishing in ‘Traditional’ Areas

Oct. 31, 2016 (EIRNS)—President Duterte’s National Security Advisor, Hermogenes Esperon, confirmed, today, that Duterte and Xi Jinping had reached a "friendly understanding" about fishing rights in the region around the Scarborough Shoal, the most contentious territorial issue between the two countries.

"The coast guard of China is there, but their navy is gone. And now our fishermen are no longer being accosted, no longer being forced out, so we can say things are now friendly,"

Esperon said.

The Inquirer noted that Esperon had stressed that neither country dropped its claim to the shoal, with China insisting on its historical rights, while Duterte’s position was that the Philippines also had historical rights, and that it was also bolstered by the international tribunal ruling in July in the Hague. "He said the two leaders decided to sidestep the issue to repair frayed ties," the Inquirer reported.

"There is no talk on territorial rights, there is no talk on assertion of rights, but they respect our traditional rights," Esperon added.

"There is no resolution, so why allow yourselves to be in that confrontational position when you can talk about economic relations, trade relations? It is win-win for both, but this is not to say that we have dropped our claim."

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