PH envoy to Asean: Let’s develop South China Sea’s oil ‘potential’
BEIJING – A Philippine envoy on Sunday called on member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to a joint development with China of the energy resources in the South China Sea.
Special envoy for intercultural dialogue Jose de Venecia made the call in a speech before leaders and diplomats at a plenary session of the Belt and Road Forum here.
“It is obvious as members of the Asean that today, with China, we must find ways and means to jointly develop the area’s hydrocarbon potentials to help lessen our common dependence on distant petroleum sources in the Middle East,” De Venecia said.
The special envoy said the joint development would spur growth in the disputed sea.
“Look at the potential for peace, excellencies, for economic development, in the heartland of the South China Sea. Small sea ports, airports, oil pipelines, small tourism townships and fishing villages, in the spirit of the Silk Road, can rapidly rise in the contested areas once converted into a zone of friendship,” he said.
De Venecia also proposed the addition of a third route in China’s proposed Maritime Silk Road.
“We proposed that the route could also pass the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the small island-nation of Timor Leste,” he said.
He said the additional route would pass through the old Manila-Acapulco galleon trade route.
The third route, he said, would “expand, deepen, and strengthen the cultural, political and economic trade for the people to people linkages of the historic Silk Road.” JE
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