Philippines terminates joint energy exploration talks with China

The foreign secretary of the Philippines says his country has terminated talks with China over joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.

Teodoro Locsin said in a speech in Manila on Thursday that outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered the complete termination of the discussions.

The Philippines and China have conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea. But in 2018 Duterte signed a memorandum with Chinese President Xi Jinping on joint resource exploration.

China later proposed a joint project in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. One condition set by Beijing was to put aside an international arbitration ruling that rejected China's claim over most of the South China Sea.

The two countries had been discussing how to realize the plan.

Locsin said, "Three years on and we had not achieved our objective of developing oil and gas resources so critical for the Philippines but not at the price of sovereignty. Not even a particle of it."

He also called on the incoming Philippine administration to protect the country's sovereignty.

President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is set to take office on June 30.