Trillanes bares ‘draft’ of China-PH pact for fuel search in South China Sea
China has allegedly prepared a framework agreement to jointly explore oil and gas in the disputed South China Sea with the Philippines.
The alleged copy of the draft framework agreement, released by Senator Antonio Trillanes on Tuesday, did not cite specific agreements but only mentioned key principles.
For one, it states the Philippines and China “have agreed to conduct joint oil and gas exploration in relevant sea areas in the South China Sea” and will establish “inter-governmental joint Steering committee and an inter-entrepreneurial Working Group.”
The committee, it noted, will be led by “the ministries of foreign affairs with the participation of relevant agencies, including energy departments of the two parties.”
The alleged copy of the draft framework agreement also claims that joint exploration, should be “conducted by the two parties and the outcome shall only be shared by the two parties.”
“The joint oil and gas exploration shall not affect the respective position on sovereignty and maritime rights and interests of the two parties,” it said.
Section 6 of the draft agreement mentioned about contract signing, saying working group will discuss the details of the joint exploration.
“The two parties’ entrepreneurs are to sign contract based on the discussion. The contract is to be performed upon ratification of the Committee,” it said.
“Any document, information or data concerning the joint maritime oil and gas exploration between the two parties shall be kept confidential, unless the two parties decide otherwise,” it added.
Further, the draft agreement states: “Any dispute consenting the implementation or interpretation of the agreement or any other relevant disputes shall be settled through friendly consultation by the two parties.”
Without prejudice to their respective position, “the two parties shall, based on the outcome of the joint exploration, make arrangements for relevant bilateral cooperation including joint exploitation,” according to the draft.
“Any other matters shall be consulted and agreed upon by the Committee as well as the Working Group or through diplomatic channel,” it also said.
Malacañang, however, has not confirmed the existence of such framework. /kga
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