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According to the AP, the Philippines invited foreign investors to search for fuel deposits in 15 offshore areas in the South China Sea, including two that are claimed by China.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario as saying that Manila refuses to jointly develop waters near the Liyue Tan, also known as the Reed Bank, of the Nansha archipelago.
"The Reed Bank is an integral part of the Philippines and, as such, cannot be jointly developed," del Rosario said, adding that Manila is open to allowing Chinese investors to explore the area under Philippine law.
China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei yesterday reaffirmed Beijing's indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters.
"It is unlawful for any country or company to explore oil and gas in sea areas under Chinese jurisdiction without the permission of the Chinese government," said Hong.
The Philippines announced plans on Friday to allow a greater US military presence on its territory, in a move analysts said was directly aimed at trying to contain a rising China.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines was looking for more joint military exercises with its former colonial ruler, as well as having a greater number of US troops rotating through the Southeast Asian country.
Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.