What treason? Palace tells Joma to read MOU with China thoroughly
“There’s nothing there that would be a basis for any allegation of treason.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this on Monday in response to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison’s claim that the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation on oil and gas development between the Philippines and China was a “clear act of treason” on the part of President Duterte.
“Maybe he has not read the agreement signed, it’s just an agreement to agree on certain things… Even the critics say there’s nothing there,” Panelo added.
In a statement on Saturday, Sison said the MOU, which was signed during the state-visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the country last week, only sets aside the Philippines’ victory against China in its arbitration case on the West Philippine Sea.
The documents, according to Sison, also “puts China at par” with the Philippines, despite its indisputable sovereign rights over the resources in the disputed territories.
However, Malacañang insisted that the recently signed MOU was just a mere “framework” for future negotiations.
“It will be the basis of negotiations, talking points and then after that, there will be an agreement between the two countries. It will start from those assigned to initially make some talks then it will reach another level until it reaches (Foreign Affairs) Sec. (Teddy) Locsin,” Panelo said.
“That’s the time to say anything whether for or against any agreement,” he added.
Under the MOU, the two nations agreed “to negotiate on accelerated basis arrangements to facilitate oil and gas exploration and exploitation in relevant maritime areas consistent with applicable rules of international law.”
An inter-governmental joint steering committee composed of officials from both countries will be created for the negotiation process. It will be co-chaired by the Foreign Ministers of the two governments while their respective Energy Ministers will serve as the vice-chair.
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