Palace: Nothing objectionable if China wants to exclude US on joint military exercises in South China Sea
Malacanang said on Friday it does not see anything objectionable about China's proposal to exclude countries outside the region on its plan to hold joint military exercises and joint exploration in the South China Sea between Beijing and Southeast Asian nations.
In a press briefing in Bukidnon, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Defense authorities would surely study seriously China's proposal for the joint military exercises.
But he said, "We find nothing objectionable to the fact that China would want to exclude non-Asians from the military exercise."
"I think the contemplation of Chinese authorities is to have military cooperation amongst his neighbors. Of course, the United States is 10,000 miles away. So if the intention is to build stronger relations between military forces who are neighbors, then the United States will be really out of place," he said.
Reports said China was suggesting to conduct joint military exercises regularly with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
But in the proposal, outside countries should not be included, which according to reports was directed against the US.
Beijing was also proposing to have a joint oil and gas exploration with ASEAN in the disputed South China Sea, news reports added.
Roque said if there would be any joint exploration with China in areas within the Philippines, it would be in the 60-40 sharing in favor of the Filipinos.
"Because we’re following the specific provision in the Constitution that foreigners can participate on a 60-40 basis, meaning 60 percent Filipino and 40 percent foreign-owned," he said.
Aside from the Philippines and China, other claimants in the disputed waters are ASEAN countries, such as Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, and Taiwan. Celerina Monte/DMS