MANILA, Philippines – Any joint venture to develop resources in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) should favor the Philippines, stressed Malacañang on Thursday, July 27.
"We will not give up an inch of our territory, and any deal should have better terms favoring the Philippines," said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella in a statement.
The Palace assurance comes two days after President Rodrigo Duterte met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Malacañang.
Abella could not say what the two discussed during their meeting but he said joint development of the West Philippine Sea "may" have been tackled.
The Palace also maintained that joint development to be participated in by the two countries should comply with the Philippines' Constitution.
"Any venture the Philippines enters into is and will be compliant with the Constitution and local laws," said Duterte's spokesman, mirroring an earlier statement made by Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
In a press conference after his second State of the Nation Address, Duterte said Philippine and Chinese parties are already in talks to pursue joint development in the disputed sea.
During Wang's visit, he expressed support for the proposed joint venture, describing it as "full of political wisdom."
Such a venture, he said, will not involve or affect the "independent legal systems" of the countries involved.
Rather, it is about the two sides, upon consultation, coming up "with the common goals" or entering "into a kind of agreement for joint development."
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.