China ‘checking’ if its vessels drove away PH fishers near Pag-asa
MANILA, Philippines — Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua on Wednesday said China had started verifying a report that Chinese vessels were driving away Filipino fishermen from a string of sandbars close to Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island in the South China Sea.
“We are checking and we are in close coordination with DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] and we will be checking whether it is true or not. But rest assured China is committed to peacefully settle the disputes we have and we are working very well in managing our differences,” Zhao said in an ambush interview in Malacañang.
“I took note of the media report, but whether it is authentic or not it is a something subject to clarification,” he added.
The Inquirer reported on Monday that Filipino fishermen were being driven away by Chinese vessels whenever they came anywhere near the closest sandbar to Pag-asa, located about 3 kilometers from the island.
READ: Chinese boats deny Filipino fishermen access to sandbars
Mayor Roberto del Mundo of Kalayaan — a town in Palawan from which Pag-asa, internationally known as Thitu Island, is being administered — said town officials were worried that the incident would affect their fishing activities. /atm
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