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PH, China agree joint oil and gas search

THE Philippines and China have agreed on the joint exploration of oil and gas resources in the disputed South China Sea (SCS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China said on Friday night.

In a regular press conference, Chinese Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said “China and the Philippines have reached consensus on joint exploration of oil and gas resources in the South China Sea and set up relevant consultation and cooperation mechanisms. We hope the two sides will work together for new progress in the joint exploration.”

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to lift the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the SCS, as recommended by the Department of Energy, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. last week went on official three-day trip to China to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to discuss “priority political and economic bilateral cooperation initiatives.”

“At the meeting’s close, Secretary Locsin and Foreign Minister Wang confirmed the prospective establishment of a Fast Lane for Urgently Needed Personnel Exchanges between the Philippines and China to facilitate, with due safeguards, the movement of essential official exchanges and travel by personnel in crucial industries such as business and trade, infrastructure, logistics, production, and technical services,” the Department of Foreign Affairs statement read.