Philippines, China to Discuss Fishing Rights in South China Sea-Marcos

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MANILA (Reuters ) - Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said China had agreed to discuss fisheries rights in the South China Sea. He also urged for a direct communication line with Beijing regarding maritime disputes.

Marcos stated that China had agreed to "sit and talk" about Filipinos' rights to fish in the South China Sea. He also said he asked the Philippine Coast Guard, and Department of Foreign Affairs, "to prepare...a map of the fishing grounds", which will be presented to Beijing.

When asked his opinion on the recent maritime conflict between China and the Philippines, Marcos made remarks to reporters on board a flight to Washington.

In remarks released by his office, he stated that "the overall priority is the protection of our maritime territory."

China's coastguard was accused by the Philippines of "aggressive" tactics on Friday following an incident that occurred during a Philippine Coast Guard patrol near Second Thomas Shoal. This is a Philippine-held island, which has been a flashpoint in previous incidents. It is located 105 nautical mile (195 km) from its coast.

The United States has asked China to stop harassing Philippine ships in the South China Sea. Beijing, on the other hand, said that it is willing to resolve maritime disputes with countries of concern by friendly consultations and warned Washington against interfering.

Marcos stated, "This is what we hope to avoid. This time was a bit more dangerous as they were so close." "That could cause casualties for both sides."

China claims sovereignty in the South China Sea. A "nine-dash" line on maps stretches over 1,500 km (930 mi) from its mainland, and crosses the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. In 2016, an international arbitral ruling dismissed the line's legality.