Published: Fri, November 23, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Philippines sign offshore oil and gas deal with China

Philippines sign offshore oil and gas deal with China

She then urged the government's executive branch to disclose the full details of the joint exploration agreement as well as the 28 other agreements signed by the Philippines and China in Malacañang on Tuesday.

The suspension of work in the Philippines' capital and the wreath laying ceremony honoring Filipino national hero Jose Rizal captured the warm welcome of President Rodrigo Duterte to his new-found big brother, Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Under "Build, Build, Build", the government plans to rollout 75 "game-changing" projects, with about half targeted to be finished within President Duterte's term, alongside spending a total of over P8 trillion on hard and modern infrastructure until 2022 to usher in "the golden age of infrastructure".

It also showed trust in the United States remained "very good", but China was considered "poor".

Though they intend to undertake some projects in waters that are not subject to competing claims, there are concerns among Philippine lawyers and diplomats about teaming up in areas that both countries claim, in particular, the Reed Bank, about 90 miles (167 km) off the Philippines' Palawan island. The visit reflects warmer ties that began when Duterte took office and pivoted toward China and away from the USA, a long-standing defense ally.

Xi was on an overnight visit here during which he held an extended bilateral meeting with Duterte, where the two leaders agreed to elevate Philippines-China relations into a strategic cooperation.

"During the visit, I was once again deeply touched by your sincerity and determination to grow our bilateral relations and by the friendly sentiment of the Philippine people toward the Chinese people", he said.

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The documents signed included a memorandum of understanding on the cooperation on oil and gas development.

Many ordinary Filipinos as well as global lawyers and diplomats are incensed by Duterte's refusal to even raise with China the Permanent Court of Arbitration's (PCA) 2016 award that ruled in the Philippines' favour, and invalidated Beijing's claim to most of the South China Sea.

China and the Philippines also expressed the commitment to address disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to threats or the use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned and in accordance with universally recognised principles of global law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the statement said.

"There's friction between China and Western nations", Duterte said last week, noting that the Philippines doesn't want to see any miscalculation. This, as they also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting regional peace and stability, freedom of navigation in and above the South China Sea. Chinese officials have asked Washington to back off from what they say is a purely Asian dispute, but the US has vowed to maintain a presence in the waters, where it has no claims but has vowed to continue naval patrols to promote freedom of navigation and overflight despite Chinese warnings. "We have formed, together with the Chinese government, a bilateral consultation mechanism as an important venue in amicably resolving territorial disputes and to strengthen the momentum of cooperation in matters of common interest, such as the protection of our fishermen", he added.

Locsin made the remarks on Twitter as he rebuffed President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, who said on Tuesday that he did not care if Beijing drafted the agreement because Manila would review it anyway.

Xi's trip has taken on even greater significance given it comes shortly after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit ended without a joint statement for the first time, due to simmering U.S.

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