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Friday, March 1, 2024

Gov’t studying China’s proposal to tie up with PH fishing villages

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National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos said on Friday that the government was looking into China’s proposed partnership with Filipino fishing villages.

“We are strengthening people-to-people exchanges. China is proposing a partnership between fishing villages, and we are looking into it,” she said in Filipino in a televised briefing.

Carlos said the discussions between President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing went well as the dialogue on West Philippine Sea issues continued.

The Philippines had filed multiple diplomatic protests over China’s alleged harassment of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, for his part, said the South China Sea can become “a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation” as long as Beijing and the Philippines find a “common ground” in resolving disputes.

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“So long as both countries stay wise and confident enough to seek common ground while resolving differences and set aside disputes, we all will be able to find a way of settling differences and solve problems and build [the] South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship, and cooperation,” Huang said in his speech during yesterday’s New Year reception of the Chinese embassy yesterday.

On Thursday, China reaffirmed its commitment to joint maritime exploration with the Philippines in the South China Sea despite a decision by the Supreme Court striking down as unconstitutional a 2005 deal among the Philippines, China and Vietnam.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), for its part, said it is setting the parameters to guide negotiations on oil and gas following the Supreme Court ruling.

“China remains committed to properly handle maritime disputes in the South China Sea with countries directly concerned, including the Philippines, through dialogue and consultation, and to actively explore ways for practical maritime cooperation including joint exploration,” China’s spokesman for its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, said in a press conference in Beijing.

Wang also recalled President Marcos’ recent state visit to China, where he and Xi Jinping discussed joint exploration.

Wang said the Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking in the Agreement Area in the South China Sea in 2005 among the three Asian countries, which the high court declared unconstitutional, “was an important step by the three countries to implement” the Declaration of Conduct in the disputed waters.

Wang added the pact is “a useful experiment for maritime cooperation between parties to the South China Sea.”

“It played an important role in promoting stability, cooperation and development in the region,” he said.

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