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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Manila softens stance over Nansha Islands

By Xu Tianran (Global Times)

08:25, March 19, 2012

The Philippines appears to have softened its tone over the South China Sea after its top foreign affairs official said that China is "welcome to carry out exploration in the disputed territory under the supervision of the Philippines."

However, Chinese scholars said that China will not agree to the Philippines getting a larger share of the joint development.

Albert del Rosario, the Philippines' foreign affairs secretary, said that China has made several overtures for possible joint exploration and development in the waters of the Nansha Islands, even as Beijing made it clear that it considers the area its sovereign territory, the Philippine Star newspaper reported yesterday.

The Nansha Islands are also claimed in whole or part by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.

"If they want to look at joint development and joint exploration there, we would accede to that provided that it is in accordance with Philippine law," del Rosario said, adding that under Philippine law, 60 percent of revenues of any such undertaking would go to the Philippine government.

"China would not accept that 60 percent of the revenue goes to the Philippine side, as this clause is clearly in favor of the territorial claim of the Philippines," Zhuang Guotu, an expert on the South China Sea issue and dean of the Research School of Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University, told the Global Times.

However, del Rosario's comments did reflect a softening of the Philippines' tone, Zhuang noted.

Del Rosario said the Philippines is committed to resolving the dispute in a peaceful manner, while Manila and Beijing agreed not to let contentious issues become an obstacle to improving ties, according to the Philippine Star newspaper.

Separately, China's State Oceanic Administration announced on Saturday that its vessels have finished patrolling waters near the Diaoyu Islands. The ships spotted Friday morning a patrol ship belonging to the Japan Coast Guard and stated its identity and stance on the Diaoyu Islands.

After the patrol in the Diaoyu Islands, four other surveillance ships, along with the Haijian 50 and Haijian 66, the flagship patrol boats of China, arrived early Saturday in waters near the offshore oil and gas fields of the East China Sea to conduct an inspection tour. The ships returned to base yesterday.

"Such patrol activities are also carried out in the South China Sea. China has made a solemn promise not to resolve the Nansha Islands territorial dispute by force, but China should protect its interests by strengthening patrol activities and maritime law enforcement," Zhuang said.


Leave your comment5 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2012-03-31203.177.74.*
as the good foreign secretary says if you want to explore you have to pay our price
Focusrightly at 2012-03-24124.182.37.*
To Juan Dela Cruz. The Sultanate of Sulu owns the State of Sabah, now a part of Malaysia, which is 73,831 sq km of land and rich in natural resources. Malaysia is soon going to drill oil of its shores. Why are you beating your chest over the Nansha islands instead of eyeing the big stake? Open your eyes too as Sabah is Filipino. ? Where is your sense of focus ?
Juan Dela Cruz at 2012-03-2392.99.64.*
The Philippine is the country that own spratly and not the chinese, the drilling exploration area are well within inside the philippine exclusive economic zone! open all your eyes! check how far the nearest island of china to the Spratly and the nearest island of the Philippines. if we are talking history the mongolian owns china by ghengis khan empire. spratly was part of the sltanate of zulu or even by the sri vijaya.
HuaQiao at 2012-03-2024.118.176.*
When the lion walk in, the hyena would make way. Unless China grown to be a lion, no hyena would show any concern.
wende at 2012-03-1971.255.86.*
China should not be fooled as Philippines says the supervision of the exploration should be under her control. China must ask Philippines to recognize the sovereignty of China in Nansha and the net profit from the exploration shared evenly.

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