PH, China to discuss joint oil, gas exploration in West PH Sea
The Philippines and China will discuss next month how to implement an agreement on joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Monday.
Cayetano said the joint venture was one of the issues the Department of Foreign Affairs would take up with its Chinese counterpart during a bilateral forum in Manila next month.
The forum was established last year as a venue to discuss disputes between the two countries in the West Philippine Sea, waters within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
“Conceptually we both want it (joint exploration). It was included in the declaration during the visit of
Chinese Premier (Li Keqiang) and Philippine President (Duterte)” in November last year, Cayetano told reporters on Monday.
“The next step is to discuss it probably in the bilateral [forum],” he added.
Both sides will seek to arrive at an agreement that will conform to both Philippine law and Chinese law “as long as territorial rights will not be discussed,” Cayetano said.
He said the two sides would look at similar agreements in other disputed areas around the world.
“We will never compromise our national territory. But [on] sovereign rights … you can talk. [It means] that area belongs to you but since you do not have the financial or technical capability to develop it, you get a partner,” he added.
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