DFA to work out WPS exploration deal with China before Duterte’s meeting with Xi Jinping
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano is scheduled to visit Beijing to discuss the crafting of a framework on the Philippine-China joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
“I’m working with our working group now. I’ve been informed that they already have their working group so when I go to Beijing, we will be discussing a framework,” he told reporters in an interview in Pasay City.
“I am suggesting that we speak first about joint exploration because in exploration, you do not extract anything yet, you find out what’s there.”
No fixed date has been set but Cayetano noted he was primarily visiting to assist the economic team to follow up the country’s engagements with China.
“It’s a trip with the economic team to be able to speed up all of our engagements, projects, investments, loans with China which we also do with Japan. This is primarily their trip but I will definitely take up the things the president asked me to take up.”
President Rodrigo Duterte recently gave his go-signal on the creation of a technical working group to discuss ways in benefitting from resources in the South China Sea while China and the Philippines have yet settle overlapping territorial claims in the area.
Cayetano said discussions were on schedule. “I’m still hoping that we can get to sign something this September that will allow the exploration.”
He said any concerns would soon be taken care of if a deal was formed as agreed by both parties.
“I’ve been sitting down with foreign and local experts and they are confident that a joint exploration and a joint development will not in anyway violate our Constitution or not in anyway damage or give away or do anything negative to our arbitration award.” (PNA)