Oliver Bugarin 9 0 0 3 min to read

Palace to research potential joint WPS exploration between PH and China

The planned collaborative oil exploration between the Philippines and China in the abundantly resourced West Philippine Sea (WPS) would be studied by the Marcos administration, Malacanang announced on Tuesday.

In a press conference held at the palace, press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles stated, “As of now, we will study it.”

Cruz-Angeles made her statement after Liu Jianchao, a former Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, expressed hope for the resumption of discussions over potential cooperative oil and gas exploration between China and the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

Liu, the current minister of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee’s (International Department), expressed hope on Sunday that the Marcos administration will take into account joint oil and gas development in the busy waterway.

Cruz-Angeles stated that the proposal to jointly investigate the energy potential in WPS will be looked into by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“With regard to our overseas relations, especially if these entail contracts, the Department of Foreign Affairs needs to be notified,” she said. “Ukol sa mga foreign relations natin, lalung-lalo na those involving contracts,” she said.

On July 27, Huang Xilian, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, declared that China is prepared to reopen discussions with the Philippines for oil and gas exploration.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Joint Oil and Gas Development in WPS was signed by the two nations in November 2018.

Due to constitutional limitations and concerns about the country’s sovereignty, the Philippines, under the Duterte government, ended the negotiations before Marcos took office on June 30.

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands, upheld the Philippines’ petition against China, invalidating Beijing’s ostensibly historical claims to practically the entire South China Sea, including the WPS.

China has persistently disregarded the 2016 PCA judgment, notwithstanding the Philippines’ historic victory.

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