Duterte thumbs down joint oil exploration with China now
BEIJING – President Duterte shot down, on Tuesday, the possibility of a joint exploration for energy between the Philippines and China in the waters of the West Philippine Sea, saying he has not been
empowered by Congress to do so.
Speaking before members of the media at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Chief Executive ruled out discussions with his Chinese counterparts on energy exploration during Thursday’s bilateral meetings.
Quoting senior administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Wednesday that talks have been ongoing between Philippine and Chinese officials for joint exploration activities in an “uncontested” area of the West Philippine Sea, including Recto Bank.
“I do not think that would be right [to propose it to Chinese President Xi Jinping],” Mr. Duterte said. “If you plan to give up something, if you plan to share what you have if it is really yours, then you cannot talk about it openly on your own.”
He explained that any proposal to jointly explore areas of the West Philippine Sea would require “the consent of Congress and every Filipino involved.”
“So at this time, I am not empowered to do that,” the President said. “I cannot give something, and I cannot also add what has not been given me.” SFM
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