Just days after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the moratorium on oil and gas explorations in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), China says it has made agreements with the Philippines on the matter.
“China and the Philippines have reached consensus on joint exploration of oil and gas resources in the South China Sea and set up relevant consultation and cooperation mechanisms. We hope the two sides will work together for new progress in the joint exploration,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi confirmed on Friday that the Philippines and China were in talks regarding a joint exploration venture between the two countries despite being in a territorial dispute, largely due to the WPS’ large oil and gas resources.
Explorations in three service contract (SC) areas, all within disputed waters, are expected to resume following the lifting of the moratorium. Despite the sea row, Cusi emphasized that Philippine laws will be followed since the Philippine government issued the SCs.