March 1, 2024

Bicol Express News

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China wants oil talks, double talks on fishing rights in disputed claims

President Bongbong Marcos, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian and VP Sara Duterte. Photo from FB

China’s ambassador to the Philippines said his country still remains open to work with the Manila government on the matter of exploring oil and gas exploration in order to help address the demand of energy by both parties.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said in the weekly Pandesal Forum that Beijing remains open to working with Manila on oil and gas exploration to help address the energy demand of both parties.

Vague, double talk on fishing rights

But, the Chinese Ambassador double-talked on the status of fishing rights in the disputed areas.

When asked how the Chinese government can help improve the situation of Filipino fisherfolk, Huang replied 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.

“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.

MOU Terminated

During the Duterte administration, the Philippines and China began formal discussion by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) way back in 2018 on a joint oil and gas exploration and development in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

But, the PH government terminated the talks before Duterte left office, citing possible constitutional issues.

Huang said China has been negotiating on the common development of oil and gas according to the MOU signed between the 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,” he added.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian. Photo from FB

Courting a honeymoon with Marcos Administration

He also said his country appreciates 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.

Earlier, the China envoy said 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 in China accounted for more than half of the world’s total. 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,” Huang said in a previous statement.