FOREIGN Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin yesterday said that the Philippines is filing a diplomatic protest to Beijing over the presence of Chinese vessels in the country’s territory.
“Okay, got it, General. @DFAPHL firing off diplomatic protest,” Locsin tweeted after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana asked what Chinese research vessels and warships were doing in Philippine waters.
Lorenzana’s query was prompted by the report of Ryan Martinson, assistant professor at China Maritime Studies Institute of Naval War College, that a Chinese oceanographic survey ship was sighted in Philippine territorial waters.
Martinson said Chinese ship Zhanjian had been in the Philippine east coast since August 3.
Also seen in the Philippine economic zone was yet another Chinese vessel, the survey ship Dong Fang Hong 3.
60-40 sharing okay
President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would push for the “exploitation of natural resources” in the West Philippine Sea through the joint oil exploration deal with China when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.
Duterte said he doesn’t see anything wrong with China’s proposal to split oil resources in the West Philippine Sea in Manila’s favor.
“They have proposed a 60-40 (deal), okay na ‘yun para sa akin,” Duterte said. “But that could be a later topic if we have time.”
The Philippines and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for oil and gas exploration during Xi’s state visit to the country last year.
In his impending fifth visit to China, Duterte said he will also raise the delay in the formulation of the South China Sea code of conduct, the Philippines’ arbitral victory against China, and other key maritime issues.
The Philippines, along with fellow Southeast Asian neighbors Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, have overlapping claims to the sea along with China. Despite an agreement to refrain from undertaking provocative actions, China has continued to expand and militarize territories that it claims in the maritime region.
In July 2016, the Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in The Hague, which invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claims to virtually the entire South China Sea.
China, however, has refused to honor the ruling.