China seeks resumption of oil, gas exploration talks
MANILA, Philippines — Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian on Tuesday said that Beijing remains open to working with Manila on oil and gas exploration to help address the energy demand of both parties.
“We are ready to work with this administration. We hope that we will find some way out to handle the remaining differences so that we could begin that kind of oil and gas common developments [at] an early date so that it can benefit our people and our two countries as early as possible,” Huang said during the weekly Pandesal Forum.
Under then-President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines and China began formal negotiations by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2018 on joint oil and gas exploration and development in the West Philippine Sea.
However, the government terminated the talks before Duterte left office, citing possible constitutional issues.
“We have been negotiating on the common development of oil and gas according to the MOU signed between our two governments in 2018. We have made positive and significant progress. But we have yet to conclude it for the benefit of our two peoples,” Huang said.
“[W]e appreciate that President Marcos and [Foreign Affairs] Secretary [Enrique] Manalo both made it public that they are open to the resumption of negotiation after the new administration took office on oil and gas common development,” he added.
Huang earlier said that China and the Philippines must “work harder” on developing clean energy as a means of addressing the climate crisis.
“Last year, the export of electric vehicles of China accounts for more than half of the world’s. We are one of the leading players in terms of clean energy and so we are ready to work with this country to share our technology, share our expertise to move forward hand-in-hand,” he said in a previous statement.
When asked how the Chinese government can help improve the situation of Filipino fisherfolk, Huang said that he was happy to see fisherfolk from both countries “getting along” and fishing “peacefully” in disputed areas.
“While we are managing differences, we are also working to promote maritime cooperation between our two countries. We believe that this kind of maritime cooperation between our two countries will benefit fishermen in the future. We look forward to that,” he said.