Phl, China open to joint oil exploration talks

The Philippines and China have again raised the possibility of reopening talks on joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

The DFA confirmed that there were “initial and general discussions” on the terminated joint explorations during the visits of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and International Department Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Minister Liu Jianchao in July and August, respectively.

Liu visited the Philippines last August and met with Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo to discuss China’s relations with the ASEAN, the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and other Philippines-China priority areas.

He expressed hope that the joint exploration of the two countries in the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea would continue.

Palace to study proposal

Last week, Malacañang announced that it will study the proposal.

Manalo said the Philippine government is open to the resumption of negotiations.

“The Chinese side has raised the possibility of cooperation on joint oil and gas exploration. As stated by the Secretary, the Philippines is open to restarting negotiations on the matter, so long as discussions fall within the limits stipulated in the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines,” the DFA said.

No working-level talks

However, the department clarified that there were no official talks that have not gone beyond initial discussions.

“There have been no working-level talks,” it added.

The DFA also noted that the issue of profit sharing with China has not yet been discussed.

“As we are still in the initial stages, it is too early to discuss profit sharing at this point,” it said.

Phl-China relations

The DFA said the Philippine government under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has expressed hope to build on the gains that have been reached in principle by the last administration “under a new, and mutually-agreeable framework.”

“As in all negotiations with our bilateral partners, the Philippines approaches these matters with our national interest in mind, as embodied in the Philippine Constitution,” it said.

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