Duterte warns of trouble if China monopolizes oil, uranium exploration in South China Sea


President Rodrigo Duterte has warned of trouble if China will monopolize the exploitation of oil and mineral deposits in the disputed South China Sea.

In a speech in Cebu City on Tuesday, Duterte quipped that he will deploy Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año to the strategic waterway to attack the Chinese if they will conduct the exploration on their own.

The Philippines and China are currently negotiating for a joint exploration of resources in the area which Malacañang hopes to be completed and signed within the year.

“Kung solohin mo, gulo talaga ‘yan. Because if you struck oil now, ano ba naman ‘yang dagat? Pasagdi [Hayaan mo]. Imo na tanan, suyopa [Sayo na lahat. Higupin mo],” Duterte said in a mix of English, Filipino, and Cebuano.

“Pero p—— ina ‘yung mga uranium diyan. Ah mahirap ‘yan. Iyong oil, mahirap ‘yan. Diyan magkadiperensiya na tayo, diyan mo na makita si Año magdala ng sundang [itak] didto [doon] panigbason [pagtatagain] ang mga Intsik.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said the Philippines is open to a 60-40 deal, in favor of Manila, should a joint development undertaking pushes through with China.

He said the site for joint exploration has not yet been identified, but Malacañang previously mentioned that Reed Bank, which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, may be a possible area.

Cayetano assured the public that any planned energy exploration deal with rival claimant China in the South China Sea will comply with the Philippine Constitution and international laws.

He also said the Philippines will not allow that the oil and gas are “harvested unilaterally at the expense of the other claimants.”

Relations between China and the Philippines have improved considerably under Duterte who temporarily set aside the arbitral ruling that invalidated Beijing’s excessive claims in order to forge stronger trade and economic ties with the Asian power.