Rodrigo Duterte - Politics in Phlippines Today

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday there was no way to stop Chinese from fishing in his country’s exclusive economic zone and he would not risk losing Filipino forces in a clash in the disputed South China Sea. “When Xi says ‘I will fish,’ who can prevent him?” Rodrigo Duterte said as he defended his nonconfrontational approach to China over the territorial disputes in his annual state of the nation address before a joint session of Congress. He was referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping. “If I send my marines to drive away the Chinese fishermen, I guarantee you not one of them will come home alive,” Rodrigo Duterte said, adding that diplomatic talks with Beijing have allowed the return of Filipinos to disputed fishing grounds where Chinese forces previously shooed them away. Critics have repeatedly criticized Duterte, who has nurtured friendly ties with Beijing, for not standing up to China’s aggressive behavior in the disputed waters and deciding not to immediately seek Chinese compliance with an international arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing historic claims to virtually the entire sea. China has refused to recognize the 2016 ruling. The decision also found that China had breached its duty to respect the traditional fishing rights of Filipinos when Chinese forces blocked them from the Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines in 2012. The Philippines, however, could also not deny Chinese fishermen access to Scarborough, according to the ruling. But the decision did not specify any traditional fishing areas within the Philippines’…

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