The Philippines foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin signed the terms of reference on joint oil and gas exploration deal with China.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said that the document implementing the MoU was signed by the foreign secretary three weeks ago. He added that the names of the people included in the steering committee and the working committee would be decided after the Philippines President visits Beijing.

No details were provided on the terms of reference.

The Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte will hold talks with the Chinese President Xi Jin Ping on his working visit to Beijing next week. The president announced during the visit that he would also be holding discussions on the maritime dispute with China regarding the South China Sea.

An MoU was signed between China and the Philippines in November 2018, allowing joint exploration in the South China Sea. According to the MoU signed by the two countries, several working groups would be created to negotiate the terms of the exploration project in specific areas to be approved by a joint intergovernmental steering committee. The committee will be headed by the foreign ministries of both countries.

On basis of the agreement the Philippines will assign the company that had a service contract with the government to a particular working group. Meanwhile China has authorised the China National Offshore Oil Corporation to represent Beijing in all working groups.

All contracts signed by the government require a 60-40 sharing of the resources according to the constitution.

Carpio said that by next week there would already be three documents prepared on the joint exploration project.

China and  the Philippines have been trying to better their bilateral relations from some time now. As part of bettering the relationship, the countries are scheduled to sign agreements in the field of science, education, technology, economic and social development next week.