Joint oil exploration with China is against Philippines' interest, says security expert

Philippines Former National Security Adviser said that the oil exploration with drilling joint venture with China is both against the national interest and security.

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A security expert in the Philippines contested that the government's move to have a joint oil exploration with China is against the country's security.

Former National Security Adviser, Roilo Golez, said that an oil exploration with drilling joint venture with China in the Recto Bank in the South China Sea is both against the national interest and is a threat to national security.

Golez cited a constitutional provision that states, "The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea and exclusive economic zone and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens."

Asserting the provision, Golez said that a 50-50 joint venture is not allowed because it must be at least 60% Filipino.

Golez is expecting that the China National OffShore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) will represent China in the oil exploration. He also said that this state-owned entity will technologically, politically, physically and financially dominate the Philippine partner.

The former legislator also said that if Philippines go ahead with this joint exploration, China will deploy military assets in the Mischief Reef to protect Chinese oil experts and explorers. The Mischief Reef, which is situated within 200 nautical miles-exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, is extremely strategic for the country as it is known to be rich in unexploited gas fields. Moreover, aside from China and the Philippines, the reef is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

The Philippine government earlier announced that it is entertaining the idea of a Philippine-China joint oil exploration and the representative of both the countries are taking things forward.

Supporters of Duterte claimed that the joint exploration will improve diplomatic relations between the two countries.

However, Golez asked that if China violated any of the rules in the oil rig, how can the Philippines enforce its rules and laws? He also asked that if in the case of legal dispute how can the Philippine settle the dispute with China?

China earlier appealed to ASEAN nations to prevent outsiders to intervene in the South China Sea dispute. China also challenged the Philippines to resolve the issue bilaterally.