Fishing can “go on as usual” in the South China Sea but Chinese and Filipino fishermen must abide by certain limitations, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said.
The Chinese diplomat, speaking to reporters in Malacañang yesterday, recognized that both China and the Philippines are concerned about the livelihood of their respective fishermen.
“If they think they can fish in the areas where they catch fish, they can go,” Zhao said. “But there are some concerns from each side how far they can go, and to what extent they can go near the islands and reefs that we have people there so there are certain kinds of limits that I think both sides are observing,” he added.
He acknowledged that both countries have “concerns” whenever foreign fishing vessels get near their territory.
“For example Chinese fishing vessels getting too close to the Zhongye Islands, there might be some concerns on your side,” he said, referring to Pag-asa Island, located within the country’s territory. “If fishermen getting too close to the islands that we have people, there might be concerns. But in general fishing can go on as usual,” he added.
The Chinese ambassador made the comment days after theChi military confirmed the presence of more than 200 Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island. (Genalyn Kabiling)