China to probe alleged
harassment of Filipino fishermen in S. China Sea
By Jelly F. Musico
BEIJING, April 22 -- China will also look into reports that Filipino
fishermen have been driven away allegedly by the Chinese Coast Guard from
Union Bank in the South China Sea, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said
”I honestly do not know anything about what you said. You yourself mentioned
that the vessels are unidentified, and all sides are in the process of
verifying the situation. China also needs to check on that,” Foreign
Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during a press conference.
The Philippines’ foreign affairs and national defense departments are still
confirming media reports on the harassment of the Filipino fishermen.
Lu said China will continue to work with the Philippine side to “properly”
resolve the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea maritime and territorial
dispute under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.
”Our position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear. We would
go on working with the Philippine side to properly deal with relevant
maritime issues and create favorable conditions for the sound and steady
development of bilateral relations,” he said.
He reiterated that the bilateral relations between the Philippines and China
have turned around and started to improve quickly “with all-around
cooperation moving forward steadily”.
Five months after his election, President Duterte visited China in October
last year at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
President Duterte is scheduled to return to Beijing next month to
participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
”Overall, both sides are able to build upon the consensus of the two leaders
and manage maritime issues through negotiations and coordination,” Lu said.