Cayetano: PH ‘co-controls’ Scarborough with China


WIN-WIN DEAL Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano support joint venture in the South China Sea. —AFP
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. AFP FILE

The Philippines and China “co-control” the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Monday night, despite reports of purported harassment by the Chinese on Filipino fishermen in disputed waters.

“I believe at this point in time, may co-control tayo because malaya na tayong pumupunta,” Cayetano said in an interview after the celebration of the 12oth anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay City.

Scarborough, located west of Zambales well within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, is a traditional Filipino fishing ground but China seized it after a two-month standoff with the Navy in 2012.

At that time, Filipino fishermen lost access to the resource-rich shoal.

Cayetano said Filipinos should not expect China to immediately change its position in claiming the Scarborough Shoal.

“China does not expect us to change our position. So why would we expect them to already change their position right away. Mahabang negosasyon ‘yan,” he said.

He said the situation under the Duterte administration was “much better” compared to the Aquino government.

“Definitely, when President Duterte came in, it was controlled by the Chinese,” he said.

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