As President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled for a state visit to China this October, he stated on Monday that he is planning to set aside the issue on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal for the meantime in order to reinforce the marred relations between Manila and Beijing due to the dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
Following this, he vows to request from the Chinese government to allow Filipino fishermen to be able to fish in the area again.
This request is made after the Hague court ruling last July that the Philippines has sovereign rights on the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, and Recto (Reed) Bank as well as other areas located near Palawan being claimed by China, along with China’s non-compliance to the International Court of Arbitration’s ruling.
The state visit shall also serve as one of Duterte’s steps in broadening the country’s alliance with China and Russia as he further engages on arguing with the United States.
President Duterte also believes that the Philippines is no match for China in the event that a war is sparked; hence, asking the Filipinos to not dwell on the Scarborough issue for the time being. He is also particularly positive on his talks with the Chinese government lifted the import ban on bananas and pineapple.
In a previous news conference in Puerto Princesa City, however, as a presidential candidate Duterte had stated that if he were to be elected, he vows to protect the Philippine territory even if they were to shoot him with a missile. He then reiterates this pledge on the organized presidential debate by ABS-CBN.