Beijing, Oct. 16, 2020 (Sputnik/Naija247news) China and the Philippines have agreed to start joint petroleum exploration in the South China Sea and have created a consultation mechanism for the purpose, foreign ministry official said.
The Deputy Director of Foreign Ministry Information Department of the People’s Republic of China, Zhao Lijian, said this at a news conference on Friday.
“China and the Philippines have reached a consensus on joint development of oil and gas field in the South China Sea and established a relevant platform for consultations and cooperation.
“We hope that the parties will work together with an aim to make progress in mutual development,” Zhao said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lifted a ban on oil exploration in the South China Sea on Thursday.
According to media reports, this decision will hasten the resumption of petroleum exploration in the disputed region and boost the Philippine economy.
The moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea was imposed by the previous Philippine president Benigno Aquino in 2015 in order to limit Chinese activities in the disputed waters.
Manila’s attitude toward Beijing changed when president Duterte came to power in 2016 and initiated the country’s rapprochement with China.