Asia

Duterte: Filipinos may be able to return to disputed shoal

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Duterte said Sunday, Oct. 23, Filipino fishermen may be able to return to the China-held Scarborough Shoal in a few days after he discussed the territorial rift with Chinese leaders during his trip to Beijing this past week. (Wu Hong/Pool Photo via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Duterte said Sunday, Oct. 23, Filipino fishermen may be able to return to the China-held Scarborough Shoal in a few days after he discussed the territorial rift with Chinese leaders during his trip to Beijing this past week. (Wu Hong/Pool Photo via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2015, file photo provided by Renato Etac, Chinese Coast Guard members, wearing black caps and orange life vests, approach Filipino fishermen as they confront them off Scarborough Shoal at South China Sea in northwestern Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, Filipino fishermen may be able to return to the China-held Scarborough Shoal in a few days after he discussed the territorial rift with Chinese leaders during his trip to Beijing this past week. (Renato Etac via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2015, file photo provided by Renato Etac, Chinese Coast Guard members, wearing black caps and orange life vests, approach Filipino fishermen as they confront them off Scarborough Shoal at South China Sea in northwestern Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, Filipino fishermen may be able to return to the China-held Scarborough Shoal in a few days after he discussed the territorial rift with Chinese leaders during his trip to Beijing this past week. (Renato Etac via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says Filipino fishermen may be able to return to the China-held Scarborough Shoal in a few days after he discussed the territorial rift with Chinese leaders during his trip to Beijing this past week.

Duterte said Sunday that he insisted the shoal off his country's northwestern coast belonged to the Philippines, but that the Chinese also asserted their claim of ownership.

Duterte didn't give details of his discussions with Chinese leaders about the conflict, including whether China imposed any conditions on the possible return of Filipino fishermen to Scarborough, where they have been driven away by Chinese coast guard ships for years.

China seized the shoal in 2012, prompting Duterte's predecessor to bring the dispute to international arbitration. A tribunal invalidated China's territorial claims in July.