2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
Dec 2, 5:50 AM EST

China rescues 2 Filipino fishermen at disputed shoal


Multimedia
Video photo gallery on trash in China
China celebrates 60th year
Panorama of Tiananmen Square
Remembering Tiananmen
A year after China quake
Migrant laborers struggle to find work
Checking Beijing's Air
China's morning exercises in parks
Exploring Chinese Cuisine
Beijing Architecture Changes For Games
Woman Rescues Homeless Quake Dogs
China Holds Funeral for Panda
China's 1-child Policy Causes Extra Pain
Map of Earthquake Zone in Central China
Entrepreneurs Move Into, Out of China
Olypmics in Beijing Highlight China's Water Woes
Foreign Buyers Head to China Despite Problems
Coal Use Produces Pollution, Illness
Coal Means Profit, Woes for China
China Extending Its Reach Around the World
In China, the Desert Closes In
Latest News
Las Vegas welcomes 1st direct commercial flight from Beijing

China to US: Avoid politics in purchase of Germany's Aixtron

China rescues 2 Filipino fishermen at disputed shoal

Chinese firm starts building full-sized Titanic replica

China court clears man 21 years after his execution

Audio Slideshow
Panorama of Tiananmen Square
Remembering Tiananmen

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Chinese coast guard ships have rescued two Filipino fishermen in bad weather at a disputed shoal and handed them back Friday to the Philippines in a show of how President Rodrigo Duterte has turned once-frosty relations with Beijing.

Philippine coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said Chinese coast guard officials notified them of the rescue in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines and later handed the two over to a Philippine vessel.

The Philippines sent a newly acquired patrol ship from Japan, the BRP Tubbataha, to receive the rescued Filipinos from the Chinese amid large waves in the high seas off Scarborough, Balilo said.

"This shows you that rescuing people at sea is beyond such conflicts," he said.

Following the friendly gesture, Balilo said the Chinese sent a message expressing hope that the Chinese and Philippine coast guards can "maintain the momentum of friendship and cooperation."

China seized the shoal in 2012 after a tense territorial standoff with Philippine government ships, and Chinese coast guard had blocked Filipinos from fishing there, prompting the Philippine government to bring the dispute to international arbitration.

An international tribunal in The Hague ruled in July that China has violated the rights of Filipino fishermen when it blocked them from the rich fishing area. The tribunal also invalidated China's sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea. Beijing refused to take part in the proceedings, saying the tribunal has no jurisdiction in territorial disputes.

Duterte, who took office in June, has taken steps to repair relations with Beijing. After he met President Xi Jinping on a state visit to China in October, Filipinos were allowed back to fish near the shoal. The Philippine coast guard said it has also resumed patrols in the disputed waters.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.