THE PHILIPPINES is open to resuming talks with China on oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea despite a sea dispute, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo said on Wednesday.
“We need to see how we can develop those resources, gas and oil, which especially nowadays are in sore need,” he told the Commission on Appointments’ foreign affairs committee at a hearing. “The Philippines will need it not only for now but for the long term.”
Mr. Manalo said he had signified to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and more recently, to visiting Chinese diplomat Liu Jianchao, the Philippines’ openness to energy talks.
Ex-President Rodrigo R. Duterte canceled energy talks with China.
The South China Sea, a key global shipping route, is subject to overlapping territorial claims involving China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Each year, trillions of dollars of trade flow through the sea, which is also rich in fish and gas. — NPA