China sincere in solving Huangyan island dispute
Updated: 2012-05-09 14:21
By Zhang Yunbi (chinadaily.com.cn)
Beijing is still willing to show the "greatest sincerity" to resolve the island impasse through diplomacy with Manila, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Tuesday.
Huangyan Island has been its undisputable territory since ancient times and the waters around the island have been a traditional Chinese fishery, Deng Zhonghua, director of the department of boundary and ocean affairs with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a Tuesday interview with Phoenix TV.
"Our fishermen and fishing boats' safety must be ensured and our fishermen's dignity should not be offended and their regular fishery operations should not be interrupted or blocked," Deng said.
Manila was warned not to further harass and undermine the justified operations of Chinese fishing boats and patrol ships in the waters of Huangyan Island, according to Deng.
Philippines media on Tuesday said Filipino fishermen told local government that Chinese vessels were preventing them from fishing inside the lagoon of Huangyan Island.
"They can fish outside (the lagoon) but they are prevented from going inside,” said RJ Bautista, secretary to Masinloc town Mayor Desiree Edora.
China and the Philippines are close neighbors with seawater in between, and have enjoyed friendly contact for more than 1,000 years, Deng added.
"We have 1,000 reasons to ensure and develop the bilateral traditional friendship and we are not expected to have any excuse to breach the relation," he said.
China and the Philippines are expected to cooperate and achieve a win-win situation. "Despite the fact that the Philippine side humiliated barehanded Chinese fishermen with armed forces, we remained restrained to deal with the situation," said Deng.
On April 10, a Philippine warship entered the island's territorial waters, dispatched personnel to harass Chinese fishing boats and attempted to detain the Chinese fishermen.
China said the move infringed China's sovereignty. Two Chinese patrol ships in the area later came to the fishermen's rescue and the warship left.
But the impasse continued as Philippine vessels were reported to be still in China's territorial waters on Tuesday.
Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Fu Ying summoned Alex Chua, the charge d'affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Beijing on Monday. The Monday summons was the third following previous ones on April 15 and 18.