Duterte ‘shared’ concern about PH fishermen; Scarborough incident ‘sort of barter trade’ – Chinese envoy
KAWIT, Cavite – President Rodrigo Duterte has informed Chinese ambassador Zhao Jianhua about the country’s concern over the action of the Chinese coast guards taking the catch of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal.
Duterte and Zhao had a brief talk inside Aguinaldo’s house here as Duterte led the 120th Independence Day celebration.
“President Duterte shared his concern about the Filipino fishermen,” Zhao told reporters after the event.
The Chinese envoy cited that the Philippines and Beijing had reached a “friendly agreement,” which allows Filipino fishermen to fish at Scarborough, a fishing ground within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone but Beijing seized it after a two-month standoff with the Philippine Navy in 2012.
“This arrangement has not changed and will not be changed,” he said.
The Chinese government, he said, was already conducting a “very serious” investigation on the incident.
“We are conducting a very serious and responsible investigation over the alleged confiscation of the catch of the Filipino fishermen but the initial investigation of both sides reflect that this is not harassment, this is not confiscation, it is some sort of barter trade, which have been going on for quite some time,” he said.
“When your fishermen need food, particularly when they need food, water, the Chinese fishermen, Chinese Coast Guard will exchange these with their catch,” he added.
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