07 March 2018
China and the Philippines dispute parts of a sea, but both need fuel. Now both are sure they’ll find some.
China needs fuel to grow the world’s second-largest economy by 6.5% this year as established this week at annual legislative sessions. The Philippines just entered year two of a half-decade infrastructure construction boom, and that takes a bit of gas too.
No wonder the two sides are taking their new friendship to another new level by working toward joint exploration for oil and natural gas under the South China Sea between them despite a sovereignty dispute. From mid-February, officials have been deliberating how their oil exploration firms can work together on two tracts off the Philippine archipelago’s west coasts. One is held by Manila alone and another lies in contested waters.
Assuming that the project takes off — some Filipinos worry about legality and whether the militarily mightier China might take a lopsided share of the fuel – the two sides stand to discover a hefty amount of the oil and gas for which they thirst.
Asian countries have generally learned how to work around sovereignty disputes and find resources, says Alan Chong, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “The neglected story is that everyone has a finger in everyone else’s pie,” he says.
CMS / GPO / Online
Last updated on 12/03/2018