60-40 sharing ‘fair’ as China will spend for WPS exploration—Esperon
MANILA, Philippines—The proposed 60-40 sharing scheme in the joint oil exploration deal with China in the West Philippine Sea is “fair” since Beijing will be the one spending for most of the exploration, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Friday.
“That’s the net because they spend for all construction and all other things,” Esperon said in a Palace briefing.
“They’re spending for it and we’re getting more. More than fair right?” he added, noting that the 60-40 sharing deal was also used in the Malampaya gas field.
China has proposed a 60-40 sharing scheme in favor of the Philippines in the planned joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
President Duterte earlier said that a 60-40 sharing scheme would be acceptable to him.
The Philippines and China have agreed to form groups that will finalize agreements on joint oil and gas exploration in specific areas in the West Philippine Sea. This was one of the products of Duterte’s fifth visit to China last August.
According to Esperon, the steering committee from the Philippine side is already preparing for the first round of talks with China.
Esperon is part of the five-man steering committee from the Philippines.
The former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the Philippines’ share may still increase but couldn’t categorically answer if the government will push for a bigger share during the meetings with the Chinese steering committee.
“You will know after the talks,” he said without elaboration.
As for the area of exploration, Esperon said they are still looking at areas yet to be awarded by the government.
The Philippines and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last year for joint oil and gas development in the West Philippine Sea.
The MOU was signed amid China’s refusal to budge from its claim of ownership over the South China Sea, including areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
The international arbitral tribunal had invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claim in July 2016. /jpv
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