MANILA, Philippines —President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said that Filipinos may soon be allowed to exercise their fishing rights again in the disputed Scarborough Shoal after his meeting with Chinese authorities.
We did not talk about arms, we didn’t speak about war. We discussed how to help each other. We will just wait for a few more days. We may be able to return to the Scarborough Shoal and our countrymen may be able to fish there again, Duterte noted in his speech while addressing the victims of Typhoon Haima in Tuguegarao Sunday
After returning from China, Duterte on Friday said he raised the Scarborough Shoal issue in private talk with the Chinese authorities but refused to elaborate on their meeting, saying he was leaving the matter to them.
I think, he (Chinese leader) already asked the Chinese fishermen to leave. That was what we discussed but I don’t know if they would comply with it.
The Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the tribunal, which invalidated Beijing’s claims to almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea.
I said we won but he said it (shoal) is ours historically and we won’t give it up, Duterte said.
I told him we won’t pick a fight. No solutions will emerge when we kill each other, he added.
Duterte said the resolution of the dispute may take time.
One day in the future, we will talk about this. We can’t leave this hanging. One day, I will say we won’t go beyond this document, which states that we won (the case), he said.
I will not insist now. I will not impose now. I will not go to war now. I will not waste the lives of my soldiers.
Duterte noted that security forces do not have enough equipment to go to war.