China, Philippines Consider Joint Fishing Rights In Scarborough Shoal During South China Sea Talks

By Michelle Guanzon, August 15, 2016 19:08 PM

South China Sea(Screengrabbed)

Making the resource-rich Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea open to fisherman from both Beijing and Manila could help reduce the growing tensions between the two nations brought about by maritime territorial dispute.

This was the statement of Wu Schicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, after talks with Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos, Manila's special envoy for the South China Sea negotiations in Hong Kong, last Thursday.

"There are various cooperation plans the two countries can discuss. Fish-farming technology is not advanced in the Philippines, and China can help with that," he said.

However, before these joint explorations are materialized, Wu emphasized, that the Philippines should first acknowledge Beijing's dominion over the Shoal.

According to Wu, the five day trip of Ramos to Hong Kong for negotiations with Chinese government officials could help reduce the rising tension in the region after a Hague-based tribunal rules that there is no legal basis for China's massive territorial rights in the disputed sea.

He added that during the initial talks, Ramos deliberated six areas of cooperation which include marine conservation and the fight against illegal drugs, smuggling and a lot more.

On the other hand, Ramos said he would have to report the development to the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after his talks with Wu and National People's Congress chairperson Fu Ying on the South China Sea.

He added that President Duterte wanted a formal talk with the Chinese government to lower the tension between the two nations and he hopes to do it very soon.

On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a ruling in favor of the Philippines, declining China's massive territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The court also ruled that China violated the Philippines' rights to explore resources in its exclusive economic zone.

China has rejected the ruling, saying it was 'illegal' and 'null and void.'

Preisdent Xi Jinping said Beijing will not agree to take any suggestions and actions based on the ruling.

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