Duterte open to joint Spratlys exploration with China
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte disclosed yesterday that he is willing to enter into a joint agreement with China for the exploration of oil and gas in the Spratly Islands, provided that Beijing does not insist on its territorial claims over the disputed area.

Speaking to businessmen in Go Negosyo’s “Meet the Presidentiables Series” in Makati City, Duterte said talks over the disputed territory are going nowhere as the United States is insisting on a roundtable or multilateral discussion among claimants China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.

Duterte said the US position is being opposed by China, which insists on bilateral talks with other claimant nations.

According to Duterte, the situation in the area has become dangerous and China has not stopped building structures in the disputed islands.

“There are conflicting claims between the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Thailand and even Malaysia. This has created a very dangerous situation when China decided to build structures there. Ang problema nito is we want to talk about it and the United States is asking that it must be multilateral to include those with conflicting claims including faraway Australia and Japan,” he said.

There appeared to be a hiatus, he said. “The talks are not moving and they are in still waters and China is adding structures day-to-day. Something has to be done,” he said.

Duterte said that the Spratly Islands is within the territorial boundaries of the Philippines.

If elected president, Duterte said he would convince China to engage in talks on the premise that the disputed islands belong to the Philippines.

“Give me two to three years… and if China says it is ready to talk, this will be my predicate. I will talk to you (China) but I will place a margin. I usually fold a paper and write something there. This is my margin. I cannot talk beyond this margin,” he said. – With Jess Diaz, Perseus Echeminada

 

 

ACIRC AUSTRALIA AND JAPAN CHINA DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE DUTERTE GO NEGOSYO MAKATI CITY MEET THE PRESIDENTIABLES SERIES PERSEUS ECHEMINADA SPRATLY ISLANDS UNITED STATES
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