Photo credit: Inquirer Philippines
The Philippine and Chinese governments are set to begin talks on new “terms of reference” (TOR) for joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea after overall discussion for the cooperation was terminated under the previous administration, the country’s top diplomat disclosed.
In a GMA interview transcript shared by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday, Secretary Enrique Manalo said the exploratory talks would be at a "technical level" and would begin in about six weeks.
“(China is) proposing that we begin talks again on oil and gas. I think we will begin in maybe around six weeks but as I said at a technical level. But those talks are going to begin discussing basically terms of reference, there’s no document yet,” he said.
Manalo added that the meeting is meant to see the scope of the discussions, then the two countries would “see where it goes.”
The two nations sought to explore oil and gas assets in the West Philippine Sea in 2018.
A year later, former president Rodrigo Duterte said his counterpart, President Xi Jinping, agreed to consider a 60-40 scheme on oil and gas exploration in favor of Manila should the country set aside the arbitral ruling.
Before his term ended, the Duterte administration terminated discussions over “constitutional limitations.”
In his state visit to China last January, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. told Beijing that Manila is ready to restart negotiations.
Manalo, meanwhile, reiterated that any discussion on a possible oil and gas cooperation would “always be guided by the requirements of Constitution.”
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency