An initial group of at least 100 Chinese fishing vessels have vacated the contested West Philippine Sea on Tuesday thanks to negotiations between the Philippine government and China.
Philippine Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo reported that the withdrawal is a result of the negotiations which began after his appointment by President Duterte 7 months ago.
“I was informed by an emissary who was here that the 100 ships have been withdrawn, and these are only initial,” Tulfo said.
Tulfo also reported that the success of negotiations is due in no small part to the respect held for President Duterte by Chinese officials. However, while China will continue to withdraw more vessels from the waters, they will maintain some presence while pursuing peace and joint exploration.
“They won’t be aggressive for as long as our president is there because Chinese officials told me that they love our president. They just want to make their presence felt,” Tulfo said.
According to Tulfo, the Philippines could be the site of many new developments, as China may relocate at least 100 companies affected by its trade war with the US.