Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified on Friday (April 23) that there is no “verbal fishing agreement” between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping amid the issue of Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea.
“There is no truth to the speculation of a purported ‘verbal fishing agreement’ between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jin Ping, nor that Chinese vessels were encouraged to stay in the West Philippine Sea despite the diplomatic protests and strongly worded statements of Philippine government officials.”
Roque pointed out that a fishing agreement can only be made through a treaty.
“The President does not condone unlawful commercial fishing by any state in Philippine waters,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, the Palace asked the public to “stop making malicious speculations and false claims made to pointlessly inflame the situation.” It added that everyone’s time and effort must be put toward “activities” that will provide assistance to others during this time of the pandemic.