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Filipino fishermen pin hopes on Duterte China visit

Sunday, October 16, 2016 - 01:39

Filipino fishermen whose livelihoods are suffering in the South China Sea territorial dispute hope their president's visit to China will end their misery. Paul Chapman reports.

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The territorial dispute between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea has all but wrecked the livelihoods of these Filipino fishermen. The Philippines won an international court ruling in its favour over who owns the Scarborough Shoal. China's rejected that ruling and has stopped the Filipino fishermen entering the waters in and around the Shoal since 2012. Now they're hoping their president's impending visit to China will restore their decades-old livelihoods. (SOUNDBITE)(Filipino) FISHING BOAT CAPTAIN NESAL MILANIO SAYING: "I hope the president will push the issue in their bilateral talks, or at least allow us to fish while the talks are happening. We're not soldiers fighting against them." Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's pursuing a less aggressive line with China over the dispute. Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform in Manila says it's a tactic to get China on his side. (SOUNDBITE)(English) RAMON CASIPLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR POLITICAL AND ELECTORAL REFORM, SAYING: "After what happened to the relationship between China and the Philippines during the Aquino administration, he's trying to bring it back to normal friendly level in order to start a bilateral negotiation." For now the fishermen of Pangasinan Province must look elsewhere for their catches. They say the fish they get now is nothing like the amount they pulled from the rich waters of the Scarborough Shoal but it's safer than confrontation with the Chinese coastguard.

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Filipino fishermen pin hopes on Duterte China visit

Sunday, October 16, 2016 - 01:39