President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping warned him of “trouble” when he told him of plans for the Philippines to explore for oil in the West Philippine Sea.
In a taped public address aired Monday, Duterte described his visit to China with some Cabinet members during the early days of his term as president.
“And pointedly, I said to President Xi Jinping in front of everybody, the two panels, there was a long discussion but I said, ‘Mr. President I know that we have conflicting claims but I have plans of going to West Philippine Sea to dig my oil,’” Duterte recounted.
Duterte said Xi told him: “Mr. President, please do not do that. You will just sour up a new beginning here, new friendship found. But if you do that,’ he said in almost whisper ‘there will be trouble.’”
Although reportedly rich in hydrocarbon deposits, no new drilling activity has been made in the West Philippine Sea in the past years. Among the productive petroleum well in the area is Malampaya, located 65 kilometers northwest of Palawan, which supplies natural gas to power major power plants in the Philippines.
Recently, Duterte said that while he values the Philippines’ friendship with China, he said that will not hesitate to send the country’s “gray ships” to the West Philippine Sea if China starts drilling for oil in the disputed waters. SOVEREIGNPH