Locsin: Only China seems keen on joint exploration of WPS
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will have to conduct its oil and gas exploration on the West Philippine Sea with China as no other country seems interested in doing so, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Wednesday.
“We’re going to have to do it [oil and gas exploration] with China unless other people step up the way Shell stepped up in Malampaya,” Locsin said during the House hearing on 2020 budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The governments of the Philippines and China inked an oil and gas exploration deal last year.
Last week, during President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China, both countries agreed to create an intergovernmental steering committee that would supervise the projects.
Locsin said that the explorations would only tap private firms from both China and the Philippines.
“If one side there is no private enterprise, on our side it will be a private enterprise,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said the Philippines would “never surrender a square inch of what we claim is ours” under the Belt and Road Initiative of China, where it offers financial assistance to countries for their infrastructure projects.
“I don’t know what China wants to do about that, but that’s their problem… That is no reason for us to not move forward on other fronts that are of mutual benefit to our countries,” Locsin said.
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