Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says his country and China are talking about the possibility of joint exploration for resources in the South China Sea. Duterte made the remarks on the same day his ambassador to China voiced concerns about rising tensions in the region. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says negotiations are underway between China and the Philippines about working together to find and extract natural resources from the South China Sea—including oil.
Duterte made the comments in Manila—part of his remarks to the Chinese Business Club.
The president also said the Chinese military presence in the region is not a threat to the Philippines.
Just last week, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris said China has built seven new military bases in the South China Sea. Duterte says they’re defensive bases—built with the United States in mind.
Elsewhere in Manila, the ambassador of the Philippines to China said the risks of a “miscalculation” and armed conflict in the South China Sea have risen. Ambassador Chito Santa Romana compared the United States and China to a pair of elephants fighting and trampling grass—adding “what we don’t want is to be the grass.”
The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is currently in the Philippines having recently navigated the South China Sea. Next month, it is scheduled to make a stop at the central Vietnamese port of Da Nang – the first time any American aircraft carrier has been in the country since the Vietnam War.