China backs joint energy development with Philippines in disputed sea


Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (R) shakes hands with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines July 25, 2017. Photo: Erik De Castro

Manuel Mogato July 25, 2017 / 5:32 PM / 14 hours ago

MANILA (Reuters) – China’s foreign minister on Tuesday said he supported the idea of joint energy ventures with the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea, warning that unilateral action could cause problems and damage both sides.

Wang Yi, on a two-day visit to Manila, made the remarks after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said a partner had been found to develop oil fields and exploration and exploitation would restart this year.

Duterte did not identify the partner. The energy ministry on July 12 said drilling at the Reed Bank, suspended in 2014, might resume before year-end, and the government was preparing to offer new blocks to investors in bidding in December.

“In waters where there are overlapping maritime rights and interests, if one party goes for unilateral development, and the other party takes the same action, that might complicate the situation at sea,” Wang told a news conference.

“That might lead to tension, and as the end result, nobody would be able to develop resources.”

The Philippines suspended energy activities while awaiting a ruling in a case by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. When it ruled a year ago, the court invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of seaborne goods passes each year.

Beijing’s harassment of a survey ship of an Anglo-Filipino consortium in the Reed Bank in 2011 and its control of Scarborough Shoal in 2012 were among the reasons Manila filed the arbitration case, which China refuses to recognize.

The tribunal clarified Philippine sovereign rights to access offshore oil and gas its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), within which the Reed Bank is located.

The Philippines relies overwhelmingly on imports to fuel its fast-growing economy and needs to develop indigenous energy resources. Its main source of natural gas, the Malampaya field near the disputed waters, will be depleted within a decade.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the proposal to jointly develop resources in the disputed waters began in 1986, but the two countries “had not found wisdom to be able to push through to the next step”.

Experts say setting up such an arrangement would be extremely complex and politically sensitive. Both countries claim the oil and gas reserves, and a deal on sharing could be seen as legitimizing the other side’s claim, or giving away sovereign territory.

Wang also said China and Southeast Asian countries were firming up a maritime code of conduct framework, showing the world they could handle differences.

However, in a veiled reference to the United States, he said it was important for regional friends to stand up to outside interference.

“If there are still some non-regional forces in the region, they don’t want to see stability and want to stir up trouble, we need to stand together and say ‘No’ to them together,” he said.

In the latest confrontation, Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea at the weekend, according to U.S. officials.

Editing by Martin Petty and Clarence Fernandez

Source: Reuters “China backs joint energy development with Philippines in disputed sea”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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17 Comments on “China backs joint energy development with Philippines in disputed sea”

  1. Joseph says:

    Duterte certainly does not need Western mining companies. Early this year he threatened to expel Western mining companies by ‘taxing them to death’ because they are causing ecological problems in Philippines by their ‘low cost’ operations. This is just one skeleton discovered in the closets. Who knows how many more. All these talks about ‘greedy Chinese’ wanting to ‘exploit ‘ the SCS resources, it was the West who wants to keep exploiting the resources for their own benefits. And they pollute the environment too, to maximize profits. No wonder they are worried the Chinese would come to take over. Make sense, unlike the Chinese, they do not live in the region. This way, their home can stay clean while our home is ravaged. All this tals about China being polluted and stuff, is actually a cover for them polluting Asia. No wonder they would not stop even as China now is the leader of clean technology. The irony is, while China is potrayed as the bad guys, the monster in this case, those polluting mining companies intend to sell their products to China, to make huge profits. So basically they were afraid, as the middlemen, that China will come and cut them as the irresponsible middlemen. After all this time, they would use old trick to get the same result. And just like that $5 trillion shipping line Reuters garbage, they expect us to be tricked. Well as in evolution, we are getting smarter, while in evolution-backward, the Westerners are getting dumber. But with litteracy rates far behind ours, it is expected.

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  2. Joseph says:

    Does anyone ever hear tbe PCA anymore? Even Reuters forgets about it. In this article, it is only a footnote.

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  3. Unknown-V says:

    It’s a win win solution. Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei must admit that SCS is belong to China’s administration. In return, China will give permissions for them to fishing and drilling there. Of course with a fair sharing..

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  4. Fre Okin says:

    China should quickly get on with joint venture with the Philippines to teach Vietnam how to behave. All disputed areas requires joint venture development. Foreigners should disappear from the SCS. They have no business drilling there.

    If VN continue to drill with foreigners, China should just drill next door. Together with Sino-PH joint venture, China can show the world she is not greedy vs Vietnam which have looted oil from the Dai Hung oilfied for decades already and continue doing so.

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    • Simon says:

      If VN drills with forigners in SCS China should bomb their militray bases. Any countries who want to explore for resourxces within the 9 dash area in SCS need permission from the sovereign holder China as ajoint ventiure only with China.
      Within the 9 dash China is the freeholder or landlord of the area. Other countries in the region which held territories there are leeseholders and if they want to develope the resources in the area they have to enter into a contract with the landlord China for joint exploration.

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      • Fre Okin says:

        No, you cannot bomb as you wish. You MUST have Clear Legal Authority. If you do that, you become a Pariah, you are no better than India. China have a Reputation to protect and you do not want to Stain your reputation by giving the enemy a Record they can point to and forever stain China’s Image.

        USE SOFT POWER technology like Boat Ramming with Civilian Vessels (it is called Freedom of Navigation!) to disrupt them. This is the Art of War. Let Them use the Military First, THEN China have the Excuse to introduce the military as well.

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        • Simon says:

          If another think you are a big softie and disregard your soverienty then soft power has lost then you use hard power. Vietnam knew about Chinese softpower and willing to push as much as it can go till all amount softpower proves futile. India also want to push China knowing full well China only answer with soft power and likewise America. China cannot sit back and behave like a big soft panda. It need to show its teeth. Foerigners need to be taught how to fear so it can respect. How can other countries buy your security guarantee if you show weakness?

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          • Fre Okin says:

            Either you give PROOF you have Legal Authority or you Don’t. Stop deceiving yourself and others with this nonsensical Cow Tongue. As I said, it is Political Posturing. Game Over. No more advantage to be had by playing this childish game especially after PCA ruling, China have Such A Bad Reputation, following your ‘sovereign’ thinking is an INSULT to ordinary people’s intelligence. No wonder Chinese are disliked Everywhere if they think like you!

            Your Soft Power come from Using Little Blue Men, Civilian Ships, Fishing boats by the hundreds, thousands like the ones that went to Diaoyu/Senkaku over a year ago, Big Chinese Coast Guard ships to Tai Chi Push Out the Pest from your ‘sovereignty’. SWARM the Spratlys with Chinese Fishing Boats to take away their lunch. THEN let them challenge with military and China will then have authority to fire back at them. This is Art Of Soft Power!

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    • alking1957 says:

      Yes, agree completely

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    • Steve says:

      By drilling next door, it may imply that VN has shared sovereignty with China. The international community may accept the fact that China acknowledges VN sovereignty, allowing VN unilateral development, eventually exploring other areas of SCS, thus encouraging other countries to participate in similar fashion complicating China’s position. Do you think its possible.?

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      • Fre Okin says:

        Just Get Over It! China CLAIM Nine Dash Line but have NO Legal Authority to back it up. It is Political Posturing. The Best China can do, Especially after PCA ruling is to Take Advantage of the 12 NM limits on all the islands there and drill, fish up to those areas. Before the enemies claim 200 NM EEZ.

        Closer than that, it is just based on Claims of Nine Dash Line BUT it is not always necessary. It depends on the ocean topography and the oil underneath seeps all over, so Not Necessary to drill Inside 12 NM. Drill based on potential oil extractable, not for political purpose.

        Do you want China to be seen as a hegemony nobody like or a reasonable global power? Time to Move On and stop that Cow tongue NONSENSE. Just Share the ocean resources and Oh Yes, China have Big Rigs and Big Fishing Boats to take away more resources than others could.

        BTW low oil price now means less interest for foreigners to drill. Not every oil well is worth drilling, so don’t expect a lot of foreigners coming in.

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        • Simon says:

          Even if you disregard ancient Chinese legal authority over SCS, modern Chinese legal authority is the aftermath of WW2 and the surrender of Japan of the Paracel and Spratley to China that was treaty bound. This was an agreement by all allied powers including America which recognises the SCS and the islands reverted back to its rightful owner China.
          The PCA ruling is not a UN body and is not legally binding but simply gone ahead deliberating on behalf of its sponsor the Phillipines who always recgnises Chinese claim to islands close to its shores until the late 1990s.

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          • Steve says:

            As regards to treaty bound I agree with you, but China should not fire the first shot till all communications are exhausted via extensive diplomacy, then lodge a final briefing to the UN for military intervention. Cannot simply drop real bombs. This is what the scoundrels tried to do when they threatened China 8 or 7 times to drop nuclear bombs without legal authority.

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        • Steve says:

          Definitely, I agree with sharing of resources and China the principle share holder, but allowing VN to build a drill platform and China drilling next door will just complicate China’s strategy. The PH has practically agreed to joint development of resources with China in disputed areas, but to allow VN to go solo in disputed territories will encourage PH to follow suit.

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          • Fre Okin says:

            LOOK, all these people have being drilling For Ages already! China should just drill alongside and not waste time threatening them. The ONUS of proof is On Them to show it is not within China’s right to drill there. The disputed areas I believe are part of the 200 NM EEZ of VN which Overlap with the Spratlys islands Just Like those in PH within their 200 NM EEZ, so the UNCLOS law is the devil here complicating matters. It is not that black and white as clearly outside their EEZ zone.

            The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in 2016 that the Reed Bank area is within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, China of course continue to dispute that.

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            • Steve says:

              After WW11 Japanese invasion, China suffered immensely in a state of poverty, could only sit and watch VN and other looters stealing China’s properties. Nothing much China could do but bid its time. I don’t think China is going to sit back and watch robbers looting now.

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        • Steve says:

          The PCA award is nonsense when you consider the fact that only 5 nations supported PH sponsored arbitration. All five are genocidal hydra heads like US, Japan, Australia ….. BUT, China had over 71 international legal entities or member states that supported China against this farcical PCA award. The last count I believe was closer to or over 80 legal entities. China has every right to denounce this farcical PCA award as nonsense and the only way to enforce it is by military conflict. This PCA award cannot be sanctioned by the UN except for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that is supported by the UN.

          We should support China against this comedy award and denounce VN or any other nation wanting to go solo for energy exploration in disputed waters. President Duterte knows this wonderful PCA award is just toilet paper unenforceable by UN unless PH intent on military conflict. Instead he requested around 30 billion $$ for infrastructure development, military support and now joint exploration from China.

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