DFA: No to joint development with China


West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) AFP FILE PHOTO

The joint development of areas in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) that “are clearly ours is not a viable solution” to our problem with China, according to Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

As for the potentially resource-rich Spratlys group of islands, the Philippines is “open to considering joint development in the disputed areas,” Del Rosario told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday.

Del Rosario said that during his meeting last week with Wang Yingfan and Wang Chungui, two former Chinese ambassadors to the Philippines who were here on a goodwill visit, he “reiterated our position that we are open to inviting China in the Recto Bank as an investor to be governed by [our] laws.”

The Recto Bank (Reed Bank), he pointed out, was an “integral part of the Philippines and, as such, cannot be jointly developed.”

“To do so would be in violation of our Constitution,” he said.

The Recto Bank had drawn China’s interest several months ago when the Philippine Air Force discovered several Chinese vessels in its vicinity.

Other option

As another option, Del Rosario said “we again asked if China would join us in availing of the dispute settlement mechanism under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” or Unclos.

He said he told his guests the government was “endeavoring to look at all means to arrive at a peaceful solution of the disputes in the West Philippine Sea in accordance with international law, specifically Unclos.”

Apart from China’s suggestion that the Philippines revisit the concept of joint development of the Spratlys, the two sides also discussed “how both nations are advancing our bilateral agenda while treating contentious issues separately, and the view that we should not accept all that appear in the press as being factual,” Del Rosario said.

According to the secretary, the retired ambassadors were “very appreciative (they) came to enhance our friendship and cooperation.”

Earlier, he told this paper that “their visit serves to put substance in the initiative (of China and the Philippines) on friendly visits.”

During President Benigno Aquino III’s state visit to Beijing last August, both sides declared 2012 and 2013 the “Years of Friendly Exchanges” between the two Asian neighbors.

Set aside quarrel

On Wednesday, Wang Yingfan told a media forum organized by the Chinese Embassy that the Philippine government should consider the “Deng Xiaoping Solution” to the Spratlys dispute, that is, setting aside the territorial quarrel in favor of a joint exploration and development of the disputed waters.

Wang, who served in Manila from 1988 to 1990, stressed “it is time for cooperation, not confrontation, not fighting.”

He said he had “talked with some important people in your government that we should work hard to find ways that are acceptable to both sides, that we must work hard to prepare the ground so that we could share the resources together.”

According to Wang, the response he got “was very encouraging. They said they would consider this kind of thinking. So with patience, with goodwill and with hard work, we could find a way out that’s agreeable and acceptable to both sides.    ”

Wang also advised Filipinos to “spend your energy on economic development.”

He said it would be some time before the two Spratlys claimants could find a solution to the dispute.

Wang also warned the Philippines against bringing the United States into the equation, saying this would be unacceptable to China which would “certainly react” if that happened.

Wang stressed that allowing the US to meddle in the six-nation Spratlys conflict was another story. “That would make the issue more complicated and more difficult to settle among ourselves,” he said.

The Philippines and China claim all or part of the Spratlys along with Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Mark John Villegas

    deng xioping solution?? wahahahaah pang chinese lang kaya un… dapat jan JOSE RIZAL SOLUTION…

  • Anonymous

    for me dapat ang Phil Gov’t ang investor para ang price level ng products eh mas lower compared to a foreign investor.  and ang income eh sa Gov’t din pupunta.

  • Anonymous

    My comments last week against China of claiming Spratly Island their territory was answered on the internet. That in 1935, China has a dispute over the island with country of Vietnan, and China declaring the legal owner of the island ever since. I want to know if this is true ot not? 

    • Anonymous


      Well well well…we meet again and it looks like you’re doing your research this time.

      “That in 1935, China has a dispute over the island with country of
      Vietnan, and China declaring the legal owner of the island ever since”

      As many people already know, the answer to your question with this part of world history is all over the internet. It’s clear that only China (ROC/PRC) and Vietnam (France) have a real claim to the Spratly islands since the 1930s.

      Just because Japan’s fierce military invaded the Spratly Islands in 1939 in order to challenge the US military for declaring a world ban on Japanese imports/exports doesn’t mean Philippines can sneak into the Spratly’s and claim it there’s after the war is over and the Japanese have sailed away in 1951.

      When an invader (Japan) leaves, the ownership reverts back to the original owners to China or Vietnam. Any other foreign country that sails in to claim ownership of the Spratly islands is trespassing and participating in an illegal “invasion” against the original owners of the Spratly Islands.

      The only defense Philippines is hoping for is “Res Nullius”…the idea that after Japan’s invasion of the Spratly’s, the ownership of the islands is reset and up for grabs for anyone who can land ashore and build their own squatter home.

      This does not set a good example for Filipinos who want to invest and purchase land then travel away to a foreign country only to return to their property filled with squatter homes with legal rights.

  • Ben

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei reacted on Secretary of Energy Jose Almendras’ remarks on inviting foreign investors to explore two oil and gas blocks claimed by China. “It is unlawful for any country or company to explore oil and gas in sea areas under Chinese jurisdiction without the permission of the Chinese government,” said Hong.He urged relevant countries to adhere to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and refrain from taking moves that will complicate or aggravate the dispute, and make due efforts for the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

    This country will develop it`s 200 mile EEZ in its own discretion, thank you ! and we will not be confused of who really owned this 200 mile EEZ of ours. We continue to ask the government of PNoy to support the AFP modernization., prioritize what is needed.

    We need the AN/TPS-59(V)3 defense radar it is a highly mobile, all solid-state, three-dimensional (3-D) radar for long-range aircraft and tactical ballistic missile detection and tracking which can significantly aid the accuracy and agility of our future jet fighters, the radar system has a 500 mile wide sweep 3 pieces must be our goal (we can buy one now and the other two for later- and the DOTC can pitch in to help since they can use that radar in managing the civilian air traffic even before it can enter our territorial air). We need fixed and mobile land based missile defensive batteries to protect the 200 mile EEZ ( we can buy one battery for now). We need a fixed and mobile missile defense shield to rain down on any Chinese aggression who will attempt to enter and attack our forces…. and missile frigates for self-defense during warfare..A squadron of F-16 will fairly complete our defensive capability for the time being. This can be a deterrent.

    but it`s equally better to bring in the US navy and airforce in Palawan area to keep the Chinese to think twice. Obviously, China is just waiting to take the right move and will again go into creeping invasion when we are least attentive.

    • Anonymous


      It sounded all great at first, with some good ideas in starting to become self-dependent and militarily prepared…right up until you got to the “bring the US navy and airforce” part.

      China isn’t exactly afraid of the US anymore. If the $2 trillion dollars US owes to China could be used as a bargaining chip, US could easily just walk away from the Philippines in the middle of a battle completely unharmed and dismissed from their debt while leaving the Philippines double-crossed and defeated.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos