China, Philippines to Cooperate on Oil, Gas Exploitation in Disputed Sea


SCMP says in its report “China-Philippine relations ‘never been better’, says ex-president Gloria Arroyo” that during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s just finished visit to the Philippines, the two countries signed 29 deals including a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on oil and gas development in the South China Sea.

Preceding his visit to the Philippines, Xi visited Brunei and agreed with it “on further win-win cooperation in exploiting oil and gas resources in the disputed South China Sea”, according to SCMP’s report “China and Brunei to step up oil and gas development in disputed South China Sea” on November 19.

I said in my comment on SCMP’s that report titled “China Solving South China Sea Disputes by Oil, Gas Exploitation Cooperation” on November 20:

Xi is to visit the Philippines today and may conclude some agreement on cooperation in exploiting oil and gas with the Philippines. As Vietnam and Malaysia also have similar desire on cooperation with China, there are prospects that China’s disputes with its neighbors over the South China Sea will be resolved peacefully through win-win cooperation.

Some may think Philippine current president Duterte’s pro-China strategy is exceptional, but Philippine former president and present speaker of House of Representatives Arroyo precisely adopted a similar pro-China strategy in her nine years as Philippine president until 2010.

During the nine years, the Philippine also cooperated with China on oil and gas development with a US$15 million deal – known as the Joint Maritime Seismic Undertaking – to jointly conduct seismic prospecting for oil in the sea. The deal was later joined by Vietnam.

Arroyo’s successor former President Aquino, instead, is an exception. He tried to exploit US pivot to Asia to deny China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea with US military support, but failed in disgrace. He makes Duterte’s pro-Beijing strategy popular as his failed speculation showed that the US does no care about its ally’s interests. Though Philippines’ military ally, the US is not willing to fight for Philippines’ interests.

That make Duterte’s policy of dumping the US popular among Philippine people.

In fact, Philippine elite knew US selfishness long ago as shown by their driving away of US military bases in the Philippines in the 1990s.

The US believes that it is popular in the Philippines. Duterte’s popularity proves precisely the contrary.

China is popular among developing nations as it respects them, cares for their interests and is generous in providing financial aids for them

SCMP’s another report today “Faced with a mounting economic crisis, the cash-strapped Maldives is looking to renegotiate its piles of Chinese debt” proves precisely that. Its title tries to make readers believe that Maldives is in China’s debt trap, a term Western countries use to demonize China.

The fact reflected in the report proves the contrary.

SCMP quotes China’s ambassador as telling the local Avas.mv website that in fact only about half of the Maldives’ external debt pile of US$1.2 billion was owed to Beijing.

He said the loans carried an interest rate of 2 per cent and a five-year grace period, while also disputing claims of a debt trap.

“We have nothing to gain if a friendly country falls into debt,” he said. “There is no single (piece of) evidence to support the so-called debt trap claim.”

In spite of the busy demonizing by Western politicians and media, China remains popular as it pursues win-win cooperation with other nations. And in spite of US boasting of its so-called good intention to help other nations, the US remains unpopular due to its arrogant invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. interference in other countries’ internal affairs by causing regime changes and exporting its democracy that does not bring prosperity and unity even in its own country.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2174384/china-philippine-relations-never-been-better-says-ex-president and https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/2174413/faced-mounting-economic-crisis-cash-strapped-maldives-looking.

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Do Not Look Down on Weak Philippines!


In my post “Weak Philippines Will Fight China but Powerful US Won’t in SCS! Why?” yesterday, I showed that I believe that Philippine President Duterte is serious in setting the red lines which if China has crossed, the Philippines will fight a war with China. Why? Because it involves too high interests as the energy resources are too valuable for the Philippines.

The Philippines, though weak, its people are brave. Do not look down on them. Lots of US troopers have been killed by Iraqi resistant Islamic extremists who have even established an Islamic state. If China occupies the Philippines, it will encounter similar trouble as Philippine people will be resourceful to find clever ways of resistance.

However, China is certainly not so stupid as the US and European colonists who tried to conquer the Philippines but failed at the end.

SubChina certainly does not believe that Duterte was serious in seting the red lines as it puts a question mark in title of its report “Duterte’s red line?”

Do not look down on weak people. US suffered defeats due to its arrogance. Korean War, Vietnam War, 911 (which could have been prevented if US President Bush had not refused to pay attention to the warning from US intelligence due to his arrogance. He was so arrogant as to believe that the US was capable of fighting two wars simultaneously!) and ISIS still could not wake the US up from its arrogant dream of being an invincible hegemon. Trump seems arrogant but he is really not arrogant so that he has not really started a trade war with China or attacked North Korea but US Congress remains so.

China shall learn lessons from the failures of European and American colonists and never try to conquer or control other countries; therefore, Chinese President’s Belt and Road win-win cooperation is China’s best strategy of economic expansion.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SubChina’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://supchina.com/2018/05/29/is-duterte-serious-about-a-south-china-sea-red-line/


China says to have ‘prudent’ oil exploration with Philippines


REFILE – CORRECTING HEADLINE Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, left, passes on a hand-written letter from President Rodrigo Duterte to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minster and State Counselor Wang Yi, right, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China March 21, 2018. Parker Song/Pool via REUTERS

Reuters Staff March 21, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will prudently advance cooperation with the Philippines on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea, China’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi said on Wednesday after meeting his Philippine counterpart.

Any potential deals between Manila and Beijing on energy exploration in the disputed waterway should be agreed with a company and not the Chinese government, a senior Philippine official said earlier this month.

China claims most of the South China Sea, a key trade route and home to areas that are believed to hold large quantities of oil and natural gas. Along with China, parts of the South China Sea are subject to competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The two countries in February agreed to set up a special panel to work out how they can jointly explore offshore oil and gas in areas both sides claim, without needing to address the touchy issue of sovereignty.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing after meeting Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Wang said the South China Sea will be turned into a source of friendship and cooperation.

“We will enhance maritime dialogue and pursue equal footed and friendly consultation and in a prudent and steady way advance cooperation on offshore oil and gas exploration,” Wang said, without giving details.

However, pursuing a joint project would be extremely complex and sensitive, as sharing oil and gas reserves could be seen as endorsing the other countries’ claims.

“The Philippines and China are finding a common legal framework to conduct joint exploration and surveys. And with our discussions today I’m confident that we will find a suitable legal framework for our differences,” Cayetano said.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said China has proposed joint exploration that was “like co-ownership” and better than the two fighting over it.

The Philippines suspended exploration in the Reed Bank in 2014 to pursue a legal challenge to China’s territorial claims.

Included in a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague was a clarification of Manila’s sovereign right to access offshore oil and gas fields, including the Reed Bank, within its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Philippines, China’s CNOOC Ltd (0883.HK) and state-owned PetroVietnam jointly surveyed the Reed Bank from 2003 to 2008.

The Philippines’ ties with China have warmed under Duterte, who has put aside territorial disputes in exchange for trade opportunities and pledged financing for infrastructure projects.

Cayetano said Duterte would visit China next month to attend an economic forum on the southern island province of Hainan and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard, editing by David Evans

Source: Reuters “China says to have ‘prudent’ oil exploration with Philippines”

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


Duterte Wise to See China’s Militarization of Islands Directed at US


In its report “Philippines’ Duterte plays down China military facilities in disputed sea” yesterday, Reuters quotes Philippine President Duterte as saying that China’s construction of military bases on its artificial islands aims at defense against the US rather than confronting its neighboring states.

That is obvious. The construction has been costing China billions of dollars. China’s military has already been much stronger than its neighbors. Shall China have incurred such huge costs to deal with them?

However, Reuters has been trying hard to vilify China by describing China’s nine-dash line as aggression, the construction on the islands as aiming at restricting freedom of navigation in the area and the Court of International Arbitration at the Hague as a UN agency in spite of UN’s denial.

China built the islands to prevent attack by US submarines from the South China Sea when there were obvious danger of that but it refrained from militarizing them to avoid scaring its neighbors. However US Navy’s stupid freedom of navigation operations have provided China with the excuse to militarize them.

Duterte is wise enough to see that, but Philippine pro-US media want to spread false fear among Philippine people to please the US.

Duterte knows clearly that the Philippines cannot rely on the US in its disputes with China over the South China Sea so that it is entirely unable to confront China militarily.

What the Philippines has been fighting for is the rich fishery and energy resources in the South China Sea. China is entirely capable of taking the resources alone as proved by its ban of Philippine fishing at the Scarborough Shoal after the standoff there. The US simply refused to help the Philippines in the standoff as it will not fight for Philippines’ interests.

At the time of the Scarborough standoff, China has not built the artificial islands but the Philippines dared not to confront China militarily without US assistance. That clearly proves that the artificial islands are not necessary for China to deal with its neighbors.

Duterte is wise to become friendly with China so as to enable the Philippine to fish in the area around Scarborough Shoal and share the energy resources with China. Otherwise as China has the military strength and technology to extract the energy resources in the disputed waters alone and the Philippines will simply get nothing.

We shall regard China as generous to allow the Philippines to share the resources that China is wholly entitled to.

China has thus proved that it wants its relations with other countries to be mutually beneficial. That is why in spite of Western media’s vilification China is and will be more popular in the world.

The situation in the South China Sea now is:

China will be able to get the resources in the areas without disputes. In the areas with disputes, it will share with other claimants;

China has built and militarized its artificial islands sufficiently to make the South China Sea its lake; and

The US is unable to attack China with its navy and has to spend billions of dollars for development of new bombers to attack China.

US media such as the Reuters are unhappy with the situation, but they can do nothing except vilifying China. However, as China grows increasingly popular, they will become increasingly unpopular due to their unfounded vilification.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be found at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-china-southchinasea/philippines-duterte-plays-down-china-military-facilities-in-disputed-sea-idUSKCN1G31KQ.


Philippines’ president made call on China’s sea research – spokesman


FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, wearing a military uniform, gestures as he attends the 67th founding anniversary of the First Scout Ranger regiment in San Miguel town, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Reuters Staff January 15, 2018 / 8:34 PM / Updated 14 hours ago

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally made a decision to let China conduct scientific research off the Philippines’ Pacific coast, his spokesman said on Monday, despite concern among critics about threats to maritime sovereignty.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that as chief architect of foreign policy, Duterte allowed China to work with the University of the Philippines in Benham Rise, an area roughly the size of Greece and believed by some scientists to be rich in biodiversity and tuna.

The United Nations declared Benham Rise, off the Pacific coast, part of the continental shelf of the Philippines in 2012. Manila last year renamed it the “Philippine Rise”.

Though China does not lay claim to the area, the lingering presence of its vessels for several months in late 2016 triggered concern about its intentions.

The Philippines granting of the permission to China was not announced and was revealed a few days ago by a lawmaker who has been fiercely critical of Duterte’s close ties with Beijing.

The Philippines and China have a long history of maritime squabbles over sovereignty in the South China Sea, but there has been no disagreement about waters off Manila’s Pacific coast.

Roque said anyone opposed to the joint research project should go to Congress and raise the issue there.

“If this is not a wise move of the president, then a law could be enacted to prohibit it,” he said.

The Philippines would grant permission to any other country that might show interest in conducting maritime research at Benham Rise, he added.

Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel

Source: Reuters “Philippines’ president made call on China’s sea research – spokesman”

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


Philippines Has No Alternative but Share Resources with China


President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte as they attend the welcome ceremony at Yanqi Lake during the Belt and Road Forum, in Beijing in May. Photo: EPA

In SCMP’s article “Willingness to explore resource sharing points to cooperative future for China, the Philippines”, the writer Richard Heydarian, a Manila-based academic and author, says “peaceful dialogue over resource sharing in disputed areas could in itself contribute to improving diplomatic relations among competing neighbours.”

However, he points out the seemingly insurmountable obstacles including Philippine constitution and popular nationalism so that former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo failed in her attempt for such sharing.

Mr. Heydarian fails to see that situation is different now. Before Philippines’ failure to get its ally’s help in countering China in the Scarborough standoff and imposing Hague arbitration award, the Philippines still has the illusion that with the help from China’s rival and its long-term ally the US, it can be benefited from the resources in the disputed waters fully alone.

Now, without Chinese consent, it cannot even exploit the fish resources in the disputed waters claimed by it. It simply cannot exploit the energy resources without cooperation with China, but China has the technology, equipment, funds and military strength to exploit the resources alone without any sharing with other claimants. What if China extracts all the resources alone? No one can help the Philippines to prevent that. Neither the US, ASEAN or the permanent court of arbitration at the Hague can.

Therefore, the Philippines has no alternative but share the resources with China or it will get nothing.

Its current president Duterte is wise to see that, but his people perhaps do not realize that and would rather give China the opportunity to enjoy the resources entirely alone.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2108202/willingness-explore-resource-sharing-points-cooperative.


With Philippines Seeking Détente, China Prevails in South China Sea


Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez says the Philippines is not giving up its claims but seeking a way to become a peaceful neighbour with China. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

SCMP says in its report “No South China Sea trade-off for economic gains, Philippines says”:

Manila pursues twin track with Beijing, separating maritime disputes from finance and trade ties

Manila is unlikely to compromise on its maritime sovereignty despite Beijing’s chequebook diplomacy and economic inducements, according to the Philippines’ finance chief.

In an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post, Philippine Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez said Manila was trying to protect its interests by separating maritime disputes from its efforts to woo Chinese investment.

Putting aside the dispute and conducting win-win cooperation in resource exploitation is precisely what China wants so that what Manila has been doing precisely plays into China’s hands.

SCMP says that other claimants especially Vietnam is unhappy, but what can they do?

With China’s strong military and artificial islands and the US unwilling to fight China for other claimants’ interests the South China Sea is already China’ lake. Other claimants can do nothing even if China wants to have all the resources there alone. They must regard themselves as lucky that China is willing to share as China has a tradition of being friendly to its neighbors.

Be realistic to cooperate with China. There is no other ways out for other claimants as the US is unwilling and unable to fight for them.

If China has grown even stronger and the US continues its decline, they may even lose the chance to have a share of the resources in the South China Sea. No one can ensure that China’s future leaders will continue Chinese current leaders’ policy of détente.

What if Chinese military drives away all other claimants from the islands and reefs claimed by China as its territories but occupied by others? What if China conducts resource exploitation alone with the technology and equipment other claimants cannot afford and with the protection of Chinese navy and air force?

Think about that.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2105582/no-south-china-sea-trade-economic-gains-philippines.