In this October 29 photo, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. jointly meets the press after their talks in Davao. Wang and Locsin are the signatories of the memorandum of understanding on oil and gas development between the Philippines and China.
How Locsin's oil development MOU differs from Trillanes-released 'China draft'
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - November 23, 2018 - 1:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV released a supposed two-page Chinese draft of a framework agreement on oil and gas exploration a day before Chinese President Xi Jinping landed in Manila for a state visit.

Following a bilateral meeting between the Philippines and China, Foreign Affairs Secertary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed a memorandum of understanding on oil and gas development.

While Locsin said he will seek permission from China first before releasing a copy of the MOU to the public, CNN Philippines was able to obtain a copy of the three-page document 

Amid Locsin's claims that the Trillanes-released draft was not the one agreed upon by both parties, the two documents have some similarities.


The two documents have different titles, with an emphasis on the difference in exploration and development. The supposed Chinese draft was labeled "Framework Agreement on Joint Maritime Oil and Gas Explortion between China and the Philippines."

The MOU that was signed was titled "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and Government of the People's Republic of China."


The final agreement indicated the context of the deal, recalling the United Nations charter, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

The MOU, which Locsin said he drafted himself, acknowledged that "through positive dialogue and practical cooperation," the Philippines and China "have made substantial progress and meaningful gains in exploring opportunities and means to cooperate with each other in maritime activities, which has made significant contributions to peace, stability and development in the region."

This part was not included in the supposed Chinese draft that came from the Trillanes camp.

Basic principle

Both documents indicated that the agreement would be in accordance with the principles of "mutual respect, fairness and mutual benefit, flexibility and pragmatism and consensus."

The difference on this part is that the final MOU indicated that both countries have "decided to negotiate" on oil and gas exploration while the Trillanes copy said that both parties have "agreed to conduct joint oil and gas exploration" in the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.

Working mechanism

Both copies indicated that an inter-governmental joint steering committee and an inter-enterpreneurial working group will be established and will be led by ministries of foreign affairs, as well as energy departments.

The supposed Chinese draft identified China National Offshore Oil Corporation as the Chinese enterporse for each working group, which is the same with the final MOU.

The final document, however, has designated the Philippine National Oil Company — Exploration Corporation as the Philippine enterprise.

The MOU was also specific on the timeline of the agreement, stating that the "two governments will endeavour to agree on the cooperation arrangements within 12 months."

The Trillanes-released draft included a separate "outcome sharing" section, which specified that "the outcome shall only be shared by two parties." There was no mention of this in the agreement that was recently signed.

Relevant position

The Locsin-drafted agreement specified that all discusssions, negotiations and activities of the Philippine and Chinese governments under the MOU "will be without prejudice to the respective legal positions of both governments."

The Trillanes-released supposed Chinese draft used the phrase "shall not affect the respective position on sovereignty and maritime rights and interests of the two parties."

The final MOU also had an additional sentence which said, "This Memorandum of Understanding does not create rights or obligations under international or domestic law."

Nature of information

Both copies directed that any information between the two parties would be kept confidential.

The Trillanes-released draft added an additional section on dispute settlement, which stated that any dispute on the implementation of the agreement "shall be settled through friendly consultation by the two parties.

This was not included in the final deal but the Locsin-released document declared on its "other matters" section that any other matters relating to the MOU would referred jointly by both parties to the committee or a working group "for consultation and agreement."

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