Philippines ‘cautious’ on China’s offer to jointly explore for oil in Spratlys area


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is being cautious about Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing’s declaration of Beijing’s openness to a joint exploration in the contested West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), a statement recently reiterated by China’s Foreign Ministry in asserting its commitment to a peaceful resolution to the maritime dispute.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Monday that any joint development in disputed territories off the Western seaboard should abide by Philippine law and that talks should be led by the private sector.

“We take a guarded position on China’s statement on joint development,” Del Rosario told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in comments sent by text.

“Any commercial negotiations on oil exploration should be left to the concerned private sector parties to undertake.  Any exploration agreement in the West Philippine Sea must be in accordance with Philippine law,” said the Philippines’ top diplomat.

In an interview with Inquirer reporters and editors in December, Ma expressed China’s willingness to jointly explore oil and mineral riches in the West Philippine Sea, saying “it is a still very valid formula” as border disputes might not be solved “in the very short term.”

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun also said in a recent speech in Beijing that “joint development may still well be a practical approach” in resolving the maritime dispute, asserting that China has been against the use and threat of force in settling the issue.

Del Rosario declined to further comment when asked how the Chinese openness could possibly impact the sovereignty debate.

China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have conflicting claims over territories in the West Philippine Sea, believed to be rich in oil, mineral and marine resources.

The China National Offshore Oil Corp. is known to have started deep-water drilling in parts of the South China Sea.

Taiwan’s Bureau of Mines and state-run oil supplier CPC Corp. have also announced plans to start oil and exploration in waters around Ligao Island, the biggest islet in the disputed Spratlys that the Taiwanese call Taiping.

The Philippines, meanwhile, is known to have oil exploration contracts in part of the Spratlys within its exclusive economic zone.

China’s statements asserting its commitment to peacefully resolving the maritime dispute came amid actions that the Philippines have viewed as violations of international law, including Chinese sea patrols in the disputed waters, military drills and construction of new infrastructure in Sansha City.

China established the city on its southern province of Hainan in 2012 to supposedly govern the whole of Spratlys.  It is known to have some 1,000 civilians and 6,000 troops as permanent residents.

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  • boyboy9797

    I believe that’s the best way to do instead of gearing up with them militarily, which obviously we can’t compete.

    • lilac

       you are 97% correct.

    • Raul

      No. Militarily is the best option. It is the Philippines sovereignty will be compromised.

      • DakuAkongUtin

        I m for you Rau. The best solution is for you to ride a banca to south China sea and fly the flag of Republic of Luzon (minus Visayas and Mindanao). Confront the PLAN ships and return and tell us of your patriotic endeavor. If you can shoot out the PLAN ships , so much the better. . Be a hero to the Republic for which you stand, under  Santo Papa y Santa Maria.

      • Raul

        You’re not for me. Lol You’re homosexual. laplapan blues with ma is your job. Slash your throat and be hero for China.

  • Su Chien

    My dear Philippino friends, you should really view the South China Sea disputes in the bigger framework of the Sino-US contest for the leader of the World.  Apparently, the U.S encouraged a proxy war against China through Philippines!  In the best situation, the U.S navy and AF will join you guys to fight against China (which will never happen in reality), even you win the war (which is also very unlikely), the entire country will be destroyed,and Phillipines will be a clear loser. The only winner will be the U.S oil companies and the U.S politicians, financial cartels behind them.

    Chinese government is not stupid, I have personally predicted such a peaceful, respectful and reasonable move towards our Philippino friends and do encourage you to think about twice before you unilaterally join the U.S to escalate the tension over the water. Let’s find some common ground and talk like civilized people. Given U.S just announced QE4, it is urgent for our asian people not be manipulated by the western powers. We can share and prosper together.

    • DurangoJoe

       Slap on your face! China cannot be trusted. Period. Hongkong now is an island full of unhappy people. They are protesting by the thousands. China is now brainwashing Hongkong born Chinese with their corrupt communistic ideas. For a city as modern as HongKong and its citizen unable and no freedom to choose their own leader is most outrageous arrangement in the history of China. It is urgent for our Asians people to reject evil China because it is better for our own future. Democracy is the only reason we live and die for! Why be ruled by 7 corrupt politburo members who take turns in ruling their country. That in itself is corrupt!

      • DakuAkongUtin

        The  Honkies who are now screaming are a small minority. They are the pampered bitxhes who think s they are still under the limey Britos of the past century. If they want to leave , they better just move to the Isle of Man and live like Britos subjects. HK is part of China, sorry  bitxhes the tiime is for you to leave.

      • DurangoJoe

         The small island of HongKong has a population of 7 million, 1/3 the population of Beijing. The people of Hongkong enjoyed utmost freedom and civil liberties. Now Beijing is taking away everything except to make more money for Beijing. Unfortunately, you think exactly like your masters.

    • Raul

      Do ya think China cannot be destroyed? U.S can be trusted than China. Almost 100 million Chinese been killed by Mao “shoktong” Tsetong, by politicide,genocide,infanticide , etc…etc…If Philippine be destroyed by war against China so be it. Tell China to think about it. It is our sovereignty at stake!

      • junsepara

        ika nga sa kasabihan, it is better to embrace the devil we know ( US) than to trust the devil we don’t know (TSEKWA)

      • Raul


      • DakuAkongUtin

        Do you think USA cannot be destroyed? Did you not remember 12 yrs ago when a small group of Allah fanatics strike the Twin Towers ? Maybe you were not born yet , caballero? Maybe you were scking hard on mama’s bosom or s cking someone’s black c ck? You know the answer….

        The answer to your question is, Yes, China can destroy USA and USA can destroy China . It is called mutual destruction in nuclear terms.

      • ThudOthwacker

        Twin towers are an inanimate objects. Let see if J-10 or J-20 can fly within the striking distance of carrier group.

        Technology gap between the US and China are century apart. Even if China successfully flatten Washington DC. Their President will be in the air directing the nuclear counter offensive. 

        So what happen to the Chinese directives in boarding ships plying the south china sea? Just another big talk from a bully?

    • junsepara

      My dear tsekwa friends, you should not view a south china sea as your own just because, it is named after you, you found pots and pans used by your ancestors and mostly falsely invoke a treaty which you where not even part or asignatory to this treaty, you should respect sovereignty and territory of which you are one of the asignatory to this UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAWS OF THE SEA, which specifies the 200 mile EEZ to each country in every seas and oceans of the world!!! south china sea is vast expanse of water that you cannot claim the whole of it, or else India will follow suit because Indian ocean is named after them, what you can do is bully a small country like mine, that is why we have to stick to uncle sam, the tension is escalating because of your doing not the philippines nor the US. if you leave south china sea alone, peace and prosperity will be achieve.

      • mountainecho

        Guess you are not aware that China sent its soldiers to the South China Sea in 1946 and took back islands that were seized by Japan in WWII.  To wit, the soldiers in Taiping, the largest island of the Spratlys, are from Taiwan, which the PH recognizes as a part of China.  They have been there continuously since the end of WWII.

        You should also know that Taiping is entitled to its own 200 nm EEZ by UNCLOS.  That covers the Reef Bank, where the oil exploration mentioned by the article above is suppossed to take place. 

        China does not claim the whole of South China Sea, only the islands and associated water under relevant international laws and conventions.

        It’s only fair for the PH to recognize the legitimacy of China’s claim on historical and legal grounds and that the PH’s own claim being very late and conflcting with that of existing claim of China, to pave the ground for negotiation to resolve the conflict in the best interests of both countries.  Trying to pull the US into the fray to bolster PH’s unilateral claim is a dangerous game to play.  Just look at how the PH has “lost” Scarborough Shoal as it miscalculated on the US support.  The PH could have got a better deal if it sat down and negotiate with China rather than rashly sending its warship to apprend Chinese fishermen, a move that is in violation of agreement on both sides to maintain the status quo.

      • junsepara

        chinks, in the first place you cannot claim this islands, you have no proof that it is your island except grab it by force, second you cannot send troops in 1946, no way you can send troops on a deserted land even the japs don’t know where it was in world war II, spratley are the only islands that where not invaded, their is no significance nor value in those times, and the most idiotic hoax you’re telling me is, how can you send your troops in 1946 when you are all busy killing each other at that time???he,he,he,he, dumb@azz chink, you don’t have historical let alone legal grounds for spratley and west philippines sea. none, zilt, nada, that is why you can’t go to INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL ON LAWS OF THE SEA, you can’t win!! that is why you can’t claim EEZ on an island you don’t own dumb@azz chink he,he,he,he, and most of all, you tried grabbing scarborough shoals using the fishermen scenario you did with vietnam in paracel islands, that is why we didn’t fire a single shot, you where waiting to get the excuse to grab that shoal, he,he,he,he, and you still don’t own panatag shoal!!!!!and chinks you are playing a dangerous game on a small country like mine, you think because you are big you can bully us and submit to you intsiktos!!!! he,he,he,he,he

    • DakuAkongUtin

      Thanks Su Chien, hoping our Pino friends will listen to words of wisdom , and not continue in   following  the white man whose only goal is to suck the oil in South Chinese Waters. They want this to become another Gulf of Mexico dotted with oil rigs flying US flags. 
      China will make sure this doesnt happen in our lifetime. They fcked around a century ago and they will not make this 21 th century at the expense of Chinese own resources. For the world has seen the greed these white devils had been committing in the last 500 yrs.

      • Raul

        Wisdom? Wisdom of idiocy?

      • ofwme2807

        i repeat Filipinos are not friends with China never ever, it just so happened our countries are close to each other…no sharing no joint development will be allowed in the WPS oil and gas resources on Philippine side…

    • Rein Luna

      Although arguing with a Chinese government paid blogger is ultimately pointless, let me clarify how the Panatag Shoal “dispute” started:

      1. Chinese “fishermen” were caught poaching endangered marine life by the Navy.
      2. Chinese vessels harbored said criminals and prevented their arrest.

      US had nothing to do with it initially.

  • Su Chien

    Sounds like our philippino friends are furious and leave no room for negotiating. I can understand the frustration of u guys, china was once a victim of imperial powers and lost it’s dignity. But today, we are talking about sharing, mutual respect and moving away from a U.S stimulated proxy war. Calm down, pls. It is easy to talk about wars online, it is merely statistics like how many people died….in reality, war is ugly and bloody. We Chinese value every each life, killing is never a choIce. Read into the eyes of your mom, dad, son, neighbors before shouting out you want a war against China

    • ThudOthwacker

      I have a better offer. Why don’t you share your “rare earth” with us and leave our EEZ alone? 

      It only shows that China has no legal nor moral rights in the area. That’s why your government is open for joint exploration. The 9 dashed line was concocted by Chiang Kai Shek and usurped by Mao’s China.

      • mountainecho

        Remember China, Vietnam, and the PH had done joint exploration for a few years in the past?  Did that show all three countries have no legal or moral rights then?

        As far as Reed Bank is concerned, both China and the PH has valid claims as their respective EEZ’s overlap (from PH mainland and from China’s Taiping Island).  A long lasting solution to the dispute would be a negotiated settlement and demarcation of the common maritime border.  But as that will prove to be a difficult and drawn-out process (mostly because of PH reluctance/objection to negotiate), common exploration and possibly development could be a viable short-term solution to bring immediate economic benefits to the people of both countries.  Why not pursue that?  China is not taking unilateral development activities in this area even though China could if it wants to, so why should the PH insist on doing it by its own which the PH private company involved has said would be impossible without US military support?  Taiwan has recently stated its intention to begin activities around Taiping.  So what is the PH going to do about it?  Better joint effort than standing on the sideline looking at other parties taking actions, right? 

    • Rein Luna

      No room for negotiating? tell that to your government who claims our territory as “undisputedly China’s”.

    • daniboy2012

      hmmmpp!!! hey chinaman  we smart pinoys know your culture, your history, your foods, we got some of your blood ..donno why. …your 8 courses meal…your nastry secret ingredients…you are greedy and gluttons by nature!!!

    • ofwme2807

      for the record we are not your friends we just happen to be neighbors…a true friend will not treat his friend like what China is doing now in the Philippines…so many bad things threats warnings and everything thrown and said by your leaders even your ambassadress in the issue of the WPS dispute to us and now you want to negotiate as if nothing bad happened in between??no way philippines will not agree ever…

    • DurangoJoe

      You are the biggest liar I have ever heard. “We Chinese value every each life, killing is never a choice.” What about the 70 million of your own people that your Chinese communist masters killed just because they did not support the Cultural Revolution?
      Unfortunately, you and your communist friends believe that your lies is the truth. We don’t want war with China. We want China to leave our territory!

    • mountainecho

      It’s only greed, Su Chien.  Filipinos have no problems making up with ex-colonial masters, no matter how long and how many (millions) have died fighting the colonialists in the past.  These anti-China online posters (not all Filipinos, mind you) hate China because they don’t want to give up the PH’s outsized claims that it grabbed by force while under American military protection during the Cold War.  Once the Cold War is over, and the American forces left the bases in the PH, other claimants such as China and Vietnam came back, and they cry for American military protection again and even Japanese intervention.  They’ll distort international laws and conventions to suit their own selfish motive and act like outlaws while pointing fingers at China as the party at fault.  I can give you plenty of examples, and here are a few:

      1)The PH sent naval warship to Scarborough Shoal and boarded Chinese fishing vessels moored at the shoal, trying to arrest them by applying PH domestic laws.  This is in obvious violation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties to maintain the status quo on disputed territories, and yet now they say that China is the violator for responding in kind in exercising effective control.  China hasn’t even sent a warship there the way the PH sent its own that started the incident, and they call China the bully.  In reality, the PH counted on the US to thwart China and they miscalculated badly.  They only believe in force. 

      2)Scarborough Shoal is an island by article 121 of UNCLOS, and yet these posters will tell you that it is not an island, and this is despite the fact that the 2009 PH baseline law has determined its status as under the Regime of Islands per article 121.  By not recognizing it as an island, they tried first to legitimize their claim simply because it is within the PH’s EEZ, and later, to deny China’s claim of territorial water around the shoal as is entitled by an island.  Even the retired Commodore Pables says it is only a rock, not an island, despite the plain text of article 121, despite the 2009 baseline law, and despite the DFA’s own official paper edited by the Office of the President that the shoal generates its own 12 nautical miles of territorial water, by article 121 of UNCLOS (because it is an island).

      3)Just read the second to the last paragraph of this Inquirer article, you see the author claiming that Chinese sea patrols in disputed waters is viewed by the PH as violations of international law.  Apparently the PH naval warship apprehending Chinese fishermen on Scarborough Shoal is not a violation in their view.  International law only applies to restraint China, not the PH.  Now who is the outlaw here.     

  • disqusted0fu

    Just look at our Chinese President Aquino, how he bullies his way in getting what he wants, that’s probably the same thing that China is and will be doing.

  • Rein Luna

    Don’t fall for it! CCP’s China cannot be trusted! China can always change its mind and re-iterate its “undisputed sovereignity” at any time. What can the Philippines do if the claimed “Chinese territory” is already developed, worst case, militarily garrisoned like in Spratly’s?

  • valsore

    Do not trust the Chinese.  This is part of their propaganda, and they never negotiate in good faith.  Just study the past 1000 years of how China dealt with its neighbors. We should invest in fortifying the spratlys and in a credible navy and air force.  At least match taiwan and Israel in terms of skills, preparedness, and numbers.

  • Edgardo Mendoza

    chinese goverment is a dog!!

  • mountainecho

    China is generous in keeping the door open about joint exploration, as it has done for years, despite various highly publicized anti-China activities by the PH in recent months.  Better seize the opportunity before the door is shut.  China’s patience has its limits.  The sooner joint work is done, the better chance of securing economic benefits for both parties involved.  Betting on a stronger bargaining position as an anti-China alliance taking shape is not going to have a favorable outcome.  Pnoy should have learned from the failed Scarborough Shoal incident that the US (as well as Japan) has huge business interests in the China market, that practically all ASEAN countries have China as their biggest trading partners, and that standing as the odd man out in the closely knit Asian community and missing out on the fast moving bandwagon will prove to be a very bad move for the Philippines nation. 

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