MANILA- Any joint venture with China for oil and natural gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea should follow the Philippine Constitution, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday.
Cayetano declined to give details of talks with China on a possible joint venture but assured that no part of the Philippine territory will be given up.
"It's the negotiation process but I can yell you the parameters. The parameters are simple. Any agreement has to be in conformity with the constitution and our local laws. Any agreement will nor give up a single inch of our territorial integrity," he said.
Cayetano meanwhile clarified that the moratorium on oil drilling and exploration has not yet been lifted.
The Philippines suspended exploration at the Reed Bank, which it calls Recto Bank, in late 2014, as it pursued international arbitration over territorial disputes.
The Department of Energy on July 12 said drilling at the Reed Bank, suspended in 2014, might resume before the end of the year, and the government was preparing to offer new blocks to investors in bidding in December.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who is in Manila for a 2-day visit, said Tuesday that he supported the idea of joint ventures with the Philippines in the South China Sea.
But Wang also warned against the Philippines making any unilateral move.
"In waters where there are overlapping maritime rights and interests, if one party goes for unilateral development, and the other party takes the same action, that might complicate the situation at sea," Wang said.
China earlier urged Vietnam to halt drilling in disputed waters. - reports from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News and Reuters