MANILA, Philippines – 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.