President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Sunday called for the final adoption of a Philippines-China “direct communication line” after Chinese and Philippine ships came close to a collision in the West Philippine Sea on Sunday.
“This is the kind of thing that… we’re hoping to avoid, that this time it was a little more dangerous because malapit na sila eh,” said the President in an interview on board Flight PR 001 en route to Washington D.C.
“Talagang kamuntik na nagbanggaan and that will cause a great many… that can cause casualties on both sides. And that’s exactly what we want to avoid kaya’t binilin ko sa kanila ‘yung aking sinasabi na mayroong high level na communication, tapusin na natin, buuin natin. Hindi pa natin nabubuo, we’re waiting for China to give us the details kung who will we be the team at their end,” added the President.
According to the chief executive, the Philippines has already created a team and has “submitted the names, even the telephone numbers of these people.”
“So inaantay na lang natin ‘yung counterpart ng team natin from China,” Marcos added.
‘Fishing rights map’
While the overall priority is safeguarding maritime security, the President said China has agreed to “sit down” and talk about Filipinos’ fishing rights in the West Philippine Sea.
“So that’s what we have to do. That’s what we have to decide and they have agreed again to sit down. I’ve asked the Coast Guard and the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) to put together perhaps a map of these fishing grounds that…sasabihin natin, ito Pilipinas talaga ito and we’ll see what they say when we give them our proposal,” said Marcos.
Both President Marcos and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier affirmed the establishment of a “direct communication mechanism” during the Filipino leader’s official state visit to Bejing in January.
Both leaders further agreed that “confidence-building measures would contribute to improving mutual trust,” and reaffirmed the importance of the Foreign Ministry as well as the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the West Philippine Sea. (PND)