Philip­pines fish­er­men granted is­land ac­cess

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By MO­JINGXI and WANG QINGYUN Con­tact the writer at mo­jingxi@chinadaily.com.cn

China con­firmed on Mon­day that Philip­pine fish­er­men are al­lowed ac­cess to Huangyan Is­land as “an ap­pro­pri­ate ar­range­ment” based on Bei­jing’s friend­ship with Manila, af­ter the Philip­pines said its peo­ple have been able to fish there in re­cent days.

“The China-Philip­pines re­la­tion­ship has im­proved com­pre­hen­sively, marked by Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s visit to China,” For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing told a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

She said the ar­range­ment re­gard­ing the is­land was made af­ter Duterte ex­pressed con­cern over ac­cess and Bei­jing con­sid­ered the af­fec­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

Dur­ing a four-day trip to China in Oc­to­ber, Duterte re­sumed Manila’s re­la­tion­ship with Bei­jing af­ter his pre­de­ces­sor, Benigno Aquino III, wors­ened bi­lat­eral ties by be­ing con­fronta­tional to­ward China.

Manila’s na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, Her­mo­genes Esperon Jr, a se­nior aide to Duterte, said on Mon­day that the Philip­pines and China have reached a “friendly” un­der­stand­ing al­low­ing Filipinos to fish around the is­land.

Hua said that China has al­ways ex­er­cised ju­ris­dic­tion over Huangyan Is­land.

“Re­lated cir­cum­stances have not changed and there will be no change in the fu­ture,” she said.

Jia Duqiang, a re­searcher of South­east Asian stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said China has sovereignty over Huangyan Is­land, and al­low­ing Philip­pines fish­er­men to fish around the is­land is a “con­crete step” the two coun­tries have taken to show good­will and prop­erly han­dle dis­putes.

Also, it would be “an ab­so­lute mis­read­ing” to link the fact that Filipino fish­er­men are al­lowed ac­cess to the is­land with the rul­ing in the South China Sea ar­bi­tra­tion case, Jia said.

China doesn’t ac­cept the ar­bi­tra­tion or the rul­ing.

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