Duterte will sign a Bilateral Agreement with China to dig Natural Gas in the West Philippine Sea!


BEIJING, China - The Duterte administration is about to sign a bilateral agreement with the Chinese government, for both countries to search for natural gas or oil in the West Philippine Sea, as one of his objectives in his state visit to China from October 18 to 21.

In an online article published on INQUIRER.NET, they were informed that several government officials were involved in a dialogue with some Chinese representatives to create a final agreement in a joint exploration of natural gas in the disputed waters. According to a Filipino government official, who wished to be anonymous: “What we are looking at is a deal that will first cover exploration activities in uncontested areas."

A reporter asked the specific areas where the exploration is planned to be executed, the Duterte official mentioned: “Areas closer to the Philippines, including Recto Bank.”

The Recto Bank, commonly known as Reed Bank, is one of the portions that was declared as the Philippine exclusive economic zone in the UNCLOS decision last July 2016. “We’re still finalizing it, but we will finish this deal in time,” the government official added.

On the other hand, a member of the Duterte delegation during the China state visit emphasized that this move just aims to build a more stable relationship with China and set aside the sovereignty issues in the meantime. He clarified that once two nations have established a more comfortable working relationship, that's the time the Philippine government can attempt to talk and touch the more complicated issues.

According to Victor Manhit, managing director of Stratbase, “We have to be careful because sovereignty is a nonnegotiable. It would open a lot of doors [to other potential claimants] if we give in.”

He then added, “This is a test to see if they are really our friends, or just bullying us.”

Duterte will sign a Bilateral Agreement with China to dig Natural Gas in the West Philippine Sea! Duterte will sign a Bilateral Agreement with China to dig Natural Gas in the West Philippine Sea! 7:18:00 AM Rating: 5
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