THE planned joint oil exploration in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) announced by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday was not a new undertaking as talks began even during the time of the late president Corazon Aquino.
This was disclosed on Tuesday by Foreign Afffairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, as he expressed hope that the two nations could finally come up with a way to use the natural resources in the area to for the benefit of the people.
Cayetano said talks about joint oil exploration between Philippines and China started in 1986 but in the 31 years of discussion the two countries failed to come up the next steps.
“And we are praying that this generation under President Xi Jinping and President Duterte will have the wisdom to find a way that these natural resources will benefit our people,” Cayetano said in a brief press conference after the signing of a memorandum of agreement strengthening cooperation between the Philippines and China.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed with Cayetano, saying that a joint development was the right approach.
“In waters where there are overlapping of maritime rights and interest, if one party goes for unilateral development, then the other party will take the same actions, and that might complicate the situation at sea that might lead to tensions, and as end result nobody might be able to develop the resources,” Wang said.
Duterte made the disclosure on the joint venture in a press conference after his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
“When they start to excavate the gas and oil, I tell you it’s going to be just like a joint venture,” the president said.