>> Filipino fishermen returning from the disputed Scarborough Shoal with big catches and even bigger news, Beijing has backed off. Trying to fish the area used to be a big gamble, China had it in lockdown for years. But it looks like Rodrigo Duterte's new friendship with the communist party is changing the game.
Reuters Karen Lima reports from a village not far from the shoal.>> Whereas before Filipino fishermen could not even come close to the disputed territory. Some fishermen told Reuters that they could now resume fishing in the area without being harassed by the Chinese coast guard.>> China may have put away its water canons for now but satellite images show it's still blocking the entrance to the lagoon.
And Philippine fishermen say coast guard ships remain out in force.>>
> When we got there, I was nervous because I'd heard news about boats getting rammed. But they didn't do anything, they just watched us.>> Beijing has no legal right to the Scarborough Shoal after an International Court rejected it's claims to large parts of the South China Sea.
But it's still calling the shots out there and local officials from the Philippines are demanding answers.>> They said they want to see an agreement between Manilla and Beijing granting Filipino fishermen full access to the rich fishing grounds. They said that the presence of Chinese vessels in the area are giving the Filipino fishermen a feeling of anxiety and uneasiness.
Hence, they want complete access to the disputed territory.>> But that doesn't look likely to come any time soon. China's foreign ministry just this week saying the situation at the Scarborough Shoal hasn't changed and will not change in the future.