President Duterte has ordered the termination of oil and gas discussions with China in the West Philippine Sea, outgoing Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. revealed.
“The President had spoken. I carried out his instructions to the letter: oil and gas discussions are terminated completely. Nothing is pending; everything is over,” Locsin said in his speech during the Department of Foreign Affairs founding anniversary on Thursday, June 23.
Locsin said the joint exploration talks were carried out for three years but the country’s objective to develop oil and gas resources have not been achieved despite both sides trying to “go as far as we could.”
“I tried for three years to come to an agreement to facilitate exploration for and exploitation of oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea. We got as far as it is constitutionally possible to go,” Locsin said.
“One step forward from where we stood on the edge of the abyss is a drop into constitutional crisis. That explains the sudden pull-back on my part which unravelled three years of sincere hard work on the part of Wang Yi and me,” he added.
Wang is China’s Foreign Minister.
He went on saying, “We had both tried to go as far as we could — without renouncing China’s aspiration on his (Wang) part; and constitutional limitations on my part. I shut down shop completely.”
Amid the attempts for oil and gas explorations, Locsin said the country did not, however, lose a single portion of its territory at sea.
The Philippines, he said, was able to hold on to its 2016 Arbitral Award against China and “we have not surrendered a single inch of territory or a drop of our waters.”