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PH not giving up sovereignty on joint exploration with Beijing – Palace

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The joint exploration in South China Sea would be between two private-owned companies from the Philippines and China, not government -to-government, the Palace spokesman said on Thursday (March 1, 2018).

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr doused the possible impact of President Duterte’s announcement earlier that the Philippines can work on a joint exploration of the resources at the disputed seas. The move would mean the two countries will have co-ownership of the disputed islands.

“We are not entering into a sovereign agreement for exploration. It will be an agreement, if we do, between two corporate entities,” Roque said at a press briefing.

“This is now a result of that Joint Seismic Maritime Exploration Agreement [during the Arroyo administration]. This will now actually entail joint exploration and possible exploitation of natural resources. So we’ve gone beyond determining if there are resources, they’re convinced there are resources – the only issue now is, is it commercially viable. That’s good news,” he said.

Roque did not say which Chinese-owned firm will strike an agreement with a Philippine counterpart.

In 2014, the Philippines suspended exploration in the Reed Bank when it pursued international arbitration over territorial disputes with China.

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