By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, Sept. 22 (PNA) – President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he will visit China within the year to ask them to return to the Philippines its fishing rights in the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS).
”One of the things that I would demand if I go to mainland China is give us back our fishing rights,” Duterte said in his speech during the inauguration of the Filinvest Development Corp. Misamis Power Plant in Misamis Oriental.
President Duterte said he has no plan to ignore the UN international arbitral tribunal’s ruling in favor of the Philippines’ arbitration case filed against China’s nine-dash line claim that almost covers the entire South China Sea.
”This piece of paper that we have our award, we do not go out of the four corners of this paper. We cannot go to war. Let’s talk first,” he said.
The President said he believes that China will talk to him in good faith.
”It’s not territorial. If territorial, we could have killed each other a long time ago. It’s the sovereign entitlement,” he explained.
He said China got angry with the Philippines when former President Benigno Aquino III brought the WPS issue to the international arbitral tribunal in The Hague.
President Duterte is scheduled to visit China as well as Japan this year but before going to these countries, he will visit Vietnam next week.
Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in a press briefing that President Duterte will tackle the WPS issue during his working visit to Vietnam.
”It will be discussed,” Andanar said during the briefing in Malacañang Palace.