Joint oil, gas dev't in South China Sea is the 'right' way for win-win — China

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Joint oil, gas dev't in South China Sea is the 'right' way for win-win â China
This file photo taken on March 29, 2014 shows a Philippine Navy vessel that has been grounded since 1999 to assert the nation's sovereignty over the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote South China Sea reef also claimed by China.
AFP / Jay Directo

MANILA, Philippines — China maintained on Saturday that joint oil and gas development in the South China Sea with the Philippines is still the "right way" for both countries to attain favorable results.

The Philippines earlier terminated talks with China for a joint energy project in the South China Sea after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered an end to the negotiations.

"Joint offshore oil and gas development is the right way for China and the Philippines to manage maritime differences and achieve win-win results without prejudicing either side’s maritime positions and claims," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a press conference on Friday. 

He said this in response to a question about China's remarks on Duterte's decision to end talks on the planned joint energy exploration. 

He cited the memorandum of understanding (MOU) which both countries signed in 2018 to cooperate on oil and gas development, noting "active negotiations and important progress within this framework." 

"China stands ready to work in concert with the new Philippine government to advance negotiations on joint development and strive to take early substantive steps so as to deliver tangible benefits to both countries and peoples," Wenbin added, referring to the term of the president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

Both countries have been locked in a territorial dispute over areas of the South China Sea, which China claims it has exclusive rights to. 

China has continually refused to honor the 2016 landmark ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, which did not find any legal basis for China's historic claim through its nine-dash line which covers 80% of the maritime waters in the Philippines' EEZ or the West Philippine Sea. 

In May this year, the Department of Foreign Affairs summoned a senior official of the Chinese Embassy in Manila to protest the harassment of a marine research vessel with Filipino scientists onboard. It was earlier reported that the Chinese Coast Giard shadowed Taiwanese research vessel Legend while conducting research on Philippine waters. 

Earlier this month, the Philippines lodged two protests against China — one was filed to protest the return of over 100 Chinese vessels in April which illegally operated on Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef and the other was filed over a series of maritime incidents in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal), which included illegal fishing and the shadowing of Philippine boats.  Angelica Y. Yang with reports from Kaycee Valmonte and Agence France Presse





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