President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday thumbed down the possibility of joint exploration between Manila and Beijing in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
In a news conference in Beijing, the President ruled out discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping on energy exploration in Thursday’s scheduled bilateral meeting.
“No, I do not think that would be right,” Duterte said, adding that the proposal for joint exploration should have the consent of Congress and the people.
“If you plan to give up something, if you plan to share what you have, if it is really yours, then you cannot talk about it only on your own. This has to be with the consent of Congress and everybody, every Filipino involved,” he said.
“So at this time, I am not empowered to do that,” the President added.
On Thursday, Duterte will be welcomed by President Xi at the Great Hall of the People, where he will meet the Chinese officialdom.
He said “wide-ranging” bilateral talks would cover “shared mutual benefits” and other issues “of importance to regional peace and security.”