South China Sea for sharing? PH gov’t says possible

  • DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay says the government is willing to share resources in the contested territory with China
  • He tells this to news wire agency AFP ahead of the ruling on the Philippine’s case against China filed in 2013
  • The arbitration court in The Hague, Netherlands will release the decision on Monday, July 12

Foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay said on Friday that the country is open to share the contested West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) to China should it win the case next week.

In an interview with news wire Agence France Presse (AFP), Yasay said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to “jointly explore” the “utilization of resources in this exclusive economic zone where claims are overlapping.”

The international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands is expected to release its decision on the case the Philippines filed against China on Monday, July 12.

Yasay clarified that this will be explored when the decision is released: “Overlapping claims awarded can be best implemented by negotiating for an agreement with other claimants that could possibly include the joint exploration and utilisation of resources in the disputed area.”

According to the foreign affairs chief, the administration would start to open talks with China when the decision is released.

He stressed that the President would also further seek to strengthen ties with one of the world’s economic powerhouse.

“The statements we will be making will be in the pursuit of strengthening our relationship with everybody and will be for the purpose of making sure there will be no stumbling block to our negotiating a peaceful solution to the issue,” he said.

Last Thursday, July 7, Chinese ambassador Zhao Jinhua visited at the Malacañang Palace.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Zhao’s third visit to the president was to “convery President Xi Jinping’s congratulations on being the 16th president of the Philippines.”

Abella refused to divulge further details.