Philippines resumes Oil and Gas Exploration in South China Sea

The Government of Philippines is to resume oil exploration in South China Sea. The President of Philippines recently lifted the six-year ban on oil exploration in Palawan Island.

Highlights

The region where Philippines Government is to resume oil exploration is within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country according to United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, UNCLOS.

What is the issue?

Philippines imposed a ban of oil exploration in the Palawan Island due to increasing tensions with China. China has been pressurizing Philippines for a joint exploration in the region that comes under Philippines jurisdiction according to UNCLOS.

However, China and Philippines had reached a consensus of joint development of oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.

Geopolitical significance

The region of South China sea encompasses 3 trillion USD of trade every year. One-third of the world maritime shipping passes through the region. The region is rich in oil and natural gas. It is also rich in fisheries and supports food security of the South East Asia.

What is the South China Sea dispute?

Several countries in and around South China Sea claim the territorial waters. The region is regarded as the most disputed waters in the world. China is at dispute with almost every country in the region. China disputes over Spartly Islands, Natuna Islands, Parcel Islands.

The Gulf of Thailand is claimed by Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Malaysia and Singapore claim Strait of Singapore and Strait of Johore.

India-Philippines

Philippines supported India’s non-permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council. With Act East Policy, 2014, the trade relations between India and Philippines diversified. The trade between India and Philippines has grown to 2.5 billion USD.

Under ASEAN-India Business Summit, 2019, the trade between India and ASEAN is to be increased to a set target of 200 billion USD by 2022. Under this, Philippines has a major role.

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