Philippines to restart oil and gas exploration in South China Sea

Philippines to restart oil and gas exploration in South China Sea

The Philippines will resume oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea, in a move that will test how far the country and Beijing are willing to compromise over rival maritime claims and the US’s resolve to back Manila.

“We trust China will respect our sovereign decision,” Alfonso Cusi, energy secretary, said on Friday about the move to end a six-year moratorium on resource exploration in the disputed waters.

The administration of former President Benigno Aquino III suspended exploration and drilling activities in the disputed sea in 2014 amid tensions with China. 

A UN-backed arbitration tribunal ruled in the Philippines’ favour and against the “nine dash line” under which China claims almost the entire South China Sea in 2016.