Philippines open to talks with China on oil, gas exploration

The Philippines' foreign minister says the country is open to resume talks with China on joint oil and gas exploration in its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

Enrique Manalo told a congressional hearing on Wednesday that the government has conveyed its interest to China about entering talks on "whenever we can develop oil and gas."

Manalo said the Philippines requires oil and gas "not only for now, but for the long term," as the need for resource development has been growing recently on the back of soaring energy prices.

He added that only China and Chinese firms have shown interest in joint exploration.

The move would be a reversal from the previous Philippine government, which terminated talks with China after a series of negotiations, citing concerns over its territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea.