President Rodrigo Duterte said that he is willing to ignore the Philippines’ victory over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) for economic gain or joint exploration with China.
Duterte said Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed to a 60-40 share, provided that the Philippines would set aside the arbitral ruling.
“Set aside your claim. Then allow everybody connected with the Chinese companies,” he told reporters Tuesday.
“They want to explore and if there is something sabi nila, ‘We would be gracious enough to give you 60%.’ 40 lang ang kanila. That is the promise of Xi Jinping,” he clarified.
When asked whether the agreement with China would include exploration within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Duterte said:
“Kasi ‘yang exclusive economic zone is part of the arbitral ruling which we will ignore to come up with an economic activity.”
In 2016, The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China’s claim over most part of the disputed sea.
Three years after Hague’s decision was declared, China still rejects the arbitral ruling.
During their bilateral meeting last month in Beijing, Duterte brought up the 2016 Hague ruling, but Xi still denied it.
“You know, China is there. He holds the property under the claim of ownership. ‘Yan ang sagot niya. It is ours, we will not budge,” Duterte said.