To launch new energy exploration efforts in the resource-rich South China Sea, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that his government aims to address concerns about China in the region.
According to a report, after decades of bickering over who has the right to explore the critical waterway’s oil and gas reserves, the Philippines and China have revived talks on exploring the South China Sea’s resources together.
According to a press statement from his office, Marcos said that, while attending a summit in Tokyo of Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), virtually little has been accomplished regarding the negotiations.
The current impasse persists, Marcos said, as he emphasized the Philippines’ right to tap into energy resources in the West Philippines Sea.
The part of the South China Sea inside Manila’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is called the West Philippine Sea.
The last administration bowed out of negotiations in June 2022, citing constitutional limitations and sovereignty concerns.
As claims in the South China Sea intensify, Manila and Beijing have been trading allegations over an incident involving their ships near a disputed shoal.
China claims almost all South China waterways, which the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia contest. This waterway routes about $3 trillion worth of yearly ship-borne trade.
Reports show that President Joko Widodo of Indonesia said that during his visit to Manila, he and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines would address trade and the situation in the South China Sea. For Indonesia, the Philippines is a vital ally.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and the Philippines’ Foreign Minister Enrique Manalo met in Manila to review regional issues, including the South China Sea conflict and the situation in Myanmar and bilateral commerce.
In a briefing, Marsudi said that Indonesia is prepared to collaborate with all ASEAN member states to swiftly conclude the code of conduct regarding the South China Sea. For some time, China and the ASEAN have been attempting to develop a code of conduct to prevent war in the contested seas.