Manila and Beijing seek cooperation in South China Sea
The Philippines and China hope to reach a deal in the coming months that would clear the path for joint exploration for oil and gas in an area of the hotly disputed South China Sea claimed by both nations. While China claims about 80% of the important, resource-rich trading route, the nations of Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines all lay claim to parts of the territory.
In 2016, China rejected a ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration that declared Philippine sovereignty in parts of the sea.
Any potential agreement would skirt issues regarding disputed waters and has been seen as the latest attempt by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to mend strained relations between the two nations, breaking with the hostile stance taken by his predecessor Benigno Aquino. China has pledged billions of dollars in investment in the country since Duterte's election.