South China Sea: China, Philippines May Agree to Share Natural Resources in Disputed Region

By | Oct 19, 2016 07:44 AM EDT
Philippines President

Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Beijing on Tuesday evening at the start of a historic visit to China. (Photo : Getty Images )

China and Philippines may agree to share natural resources in the disputed South China Sea.

The two countries are reportedly discussing joint exploration for oil and natural gas in the contested waters, a Philippine media report revealed.

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"What we are looking at is a deal that will first cover exploration activities in uncontested areas," a senior Filipino official told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The official even added that the South China Sea areas closer to the Philippines, including the Recto Bank, would be considered as potential locations for joint exploration.

"We're still finalizing it, but we will finish this deal in time," he said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his anti-U.S. tirade, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday evening at the start of a historic four-day visit to China. It is Duterte's first state visit outside ASEAN since taking office in June.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry  said on Tuesday that the Philippines President will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang during his four day long visit to country.

"This is a historic visit, and presents an opportunity for relations between China and the Philippines to restart on a fresh, more positive footing," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

China and Philippines have long been engaged in a bitter dispute over the South China Sea. In July, an international tribunal had rejected China's ownership claims over the contested waters.

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