- China said they are allowing Filipinos to fish in West PH Sea “out of goodwill”
- The Foreign Ministry also claimed Chinese fishermen offered humanitarian aids to Pinoy fishermen for many times
- Nevertheless, the ministry vowed to investigate the incident
MANILA, Philippines – Reacting to a recent incident involving members of Chinese Coast Guard bullying Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said the latter are only allowed to fish in contested waters “out of goodwill”.
In a regular press briefing on Monday, June 11, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said the Chinese Coast Guard “have been safeguarding peace, order and tranquility in relevant waters” and have supposedly “offered humanitarian aids to Philippine fishermen for many times”.
Regarding the incident where Chinese Coast Guards were seen in a video “forcefully” taking Filipino fishermen’s catch, Geng said when asked to comment: “China has made appropriate arrangement for the Philippine fishermen to fish in relevant waters out of goodwill.”
The Chinese official added this policy remains unchanged.
“At this point, the China-Philippines friendly relations have taken on a positive trend, and China has a clear and firm determination to commit itself to consolidating and strengthening China-Philippines relations,” he explained.
However, while insisting that Chinese troops “have always acted in accordance with the law”, Geng assured that the incident will be investigated seriously.
“If what the Philippine side claimed is true, I believe relevant Chinese departments will handle that in a serious manner,” he said.
Earlier, fisherman Romel Cejuela told Malacañang reporters during a press briefing that Chinese troops would often take their catch in exchange for cigarettes, noodles and water. But Cejuela said this could not go on because the items they received in return were not enough to feed their families.
As to who he thinks remain in control of the West Philippine Sea, Cejuela said China continuous to be powerful in the territory and therefore, controlled it.