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Philippines taps South China Sea amid tension, eyes “exploration issues” fix

Philippines taps South China Sea amid tension, eyes “exploration issues” fix

Philippines taps South China Sea amid tension, eyes “exploration issues” fix

Philippines taps South China Sea amid tension, eyes “exploration issues” fix

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  • The Philippines seeks to resolve resource issues in the South China Sea.
  • President Marcos acknowledges escalating tensions with a “more assertive China.”
  • Manila stresses its right to utilize resources in the West Philippine Sea.
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To meet its energy demands, the Philippines is seeking to settle “exploration issues” in the South China Sea, according to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines. This will allow the government to begin new energy exploration projects in the resource-rich waterway.

In an interview with Japanese media on Saturday, Marcos stated that there has been a “real challenge” to its Asian neighbors from a “more assertive China” and that tensions in the South China Sea have “increased rather than diminished” in recent months.

After decades of conflict over sovereign rights to develop natural resources in the vital waterway, the Philippines and China have reopened talks on working together to explore oil and gas possibilities in the South China Sea.

However, Marcos stated in a news release from his office that “very little progress” has been made in the talks as he attends a meeting between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Tokyo.

Marcos stated, “We are still at a deadlock right now,” while highlighting his nation’s right to utilize the West Philippines Sea’s energy sources. The Philippines is trying to move away from coal and fossil fuels and toward liquified natural gas.

The West Philippine Sea is the name given by Manila to the area of the South China Sea that falls under its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

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Finding a legally sound means of working together on energy exploration has proven to be a recurring obstacle; in June of last year, the previous administration called off negotiations, citing concerns about sovereignty and constitutional limitations.

Tensions over claims in the crucial waterway erupted a week ago when Manila and Beijing swapped accusations after a collision of their vessels close to a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.

Together with the Philippines, other ASEAN countries Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei also assert territorial claims to portions of the South China Sea, which China disputes and which accounts for nearly all of the world’s ship traffic, worth over $3 trillion annually.

China disputes the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 2016 finding that China’s claims lack legal standing, which the US supports.

Underscoring the necessity of peaceful resolution, Marcos remarked, “I’m afraid we’ll have to be able to say that tensions have increased rather than diminished for the past months or the past years.”

Marcos, who has pledged to protect his nation’s rights in the South China Sea following the collision—which Manila has called a “serious escalation”—said that “new solutions” were needed to meet China’s challenge.

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