Roque: PH eyes signing of exploration deal with China before Xi visit
Malacañang is looking forward to signing a joint exploration agreement with China in the West Philippine Sea before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit later this year.
West Philippine Sea is the local name of the waters within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said no timetable had been set for the signing of the joint exploration agreement.
“No time frame. But, of course, because of the impending visit of President Xi, I would say that it is any time between now and the visit of President Xi. But it was not expressly stated as such,” Roque said.
Xi is expected to visit the Philippines before the year ends. Malacañang, however, has not announced any details.
Moving toward deal
Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said at a meeting with military and police officials in Malacañang on Tuesday that China and the Philippines were moving toward a joint exploration deal.
In his press briefing on Thursday, Roque stressed that President Duterte was open to a joint venture but would not yield Philippine territory to China.
“He will not give up even an inch of Philippine territory. That’s the position. There was a restatement of policy,” Roque said.
Cayetano has long been talking about a joint exploration deal with China in the West Philippine Sea, but he has never mentioned whether such an agreement will be submitted to Congress for approval.
The 1987 Constitution reserves the exploitation of Philippine natural resources for Filipinos.
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