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Thursday, May 30, 2024

China’s conditions hinder joint oil exploration in South China Sea

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President Marcos said China’s continued push for its laws to govern the South China Sea hinders the possibility of a joint oil exploration between Manila and Beijing in the region.

“We always come up against the same argument between China and the Philippines because when we say that we would like to explore, they insist that these areas are in Chinese territory, and therefore Chinese law must prevail,” the President said during a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines that was attended by senior members of the Philippine military and foreign diplomats.

“We, of course, do not accept that. We say this is Philippine territory and therefore Philippine law should prevail,” he added.

Earlier, Mr. Marcos said any discussion on joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea would be centered around the country’s sovereignty.

“The sovereignty and the sovereign rights and our territorial jurisdiction remain the key in all of these talks, and we cannot at any point somehow compromise the territorial integrity of the Philippines,” he said.

In December, the President said the Philippines will “find a way to move the process forward” for oil exploration projects in the West Philippine Sea.

“It’s imperative for the Philippines to find a way to move the process forward so as to be able to assure ourselves of a fuel supply during that transition period,” he said in an interview with NHK.

He said negotiations with China for joint oil and gas exploration in the WPS, particularly in Recto Bank (Reed Bank), have remained stalled.

“We are still in a deadlock right now… We have been in negotiations for over three years now, and have made very little progress,” the President told NHK.

Mr. Marcos said as far as the Philippines is concerned, Recto Bank “is not in a conflict area.”

“This is very clearly within our EEZ (exclusive economic zone). It is certainly within our baselines, within the maritime territory of the Philippines. So, whatever it is that we will do in the future, it has to be consistent with that understanding,” he said.


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