The Duterte government is open to a joint exploration venture of South China Sea’s natural resources with China and Vietnam, the two Southeast Asian nations that also have territorial claims to the sea.
President Duterte spoke to reporters after returning from Beijing, where he met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang on the sidelines of a summit on a global trade infrastructure project. He said he told Xi and Li that he would not raise last year’s international tribunal ruling that China’s claim to most of the sea were unlawful. He said his decision has earned the Philippines billions of dollars in Chinese investments and aid.
For his part, Xi hailed the improve relations between the two nations as he called the Philippines an important partner in his Belt and Road infrastructure project.