No need for China OK of Reed Bank project: Gazmin

Posted at 07/21/14 5:50 PM

MANILA - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippines does not need China’s opinion over the oil exploration at the Reed Bank.

“If we seek permission from them (China), it means that it’s theirs. But it’s very clear that that area is ours,” Gazmin said.

Gazmin assured the activities at the Reed Bank will be protected.

“Within our capability, we will extend all necessary protection [there],” he said.

In 2011, two Chinese ships ordered a Department of Energy (DOE) ship stationed there to stop the exploration activities.

Reed Bank or Recto Bank is about 85 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa City and 595 nautical miles from Hainan, China.

The government said Reed Bank is not part of those being disputed in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Reed Bank has always been part of the Philippines’ jurisdiction, the Department of Foreign Affairs had said.

The DOE had announced that it had extended until August 2016 the service contract of Forum Energy and Philex Petroleum.

Reacting to the news, China said the “oil and gas exploration by any foreign companies in waters under China's jurisdiction is illegal and invalid.”