Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Oil and gas in South China Sea produces tension between Phillipines and China

Pacific Security News.- Chinese flag is burned in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs to oppose the presence of Chinese vessels in the disputed territory in the South China Sea Friday, July 27, 2012 in Manila, Philippines.

The Philippines are set to auction off three areas in the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean) for oil and gas exploration that are also claimed by continental China.

Various companies are qualified to participate in the bidding process, like French energy giant Total, Royal Dutch Shell and US-based Exxon.

However certain part of the South China Sea are claimed by several other countries like China.  That produces tension in the region.

The block that is claimed by China is the Sampaguita block, near Reed Bank.In Sampaguita natural gas has been discovered.

Other blocks to be auctioned are  the South China Sea off the Palawan province, near Malampaya.

All the areas the Phillipines have offered are within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines under the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas).

Other areas of the South China sea are claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.

Recently, China raised the flag on tiny Yongxing island, 220 miles from its southernmost province of Hainan. The island will try administer hundreds of thousands of square miles of water where it wants to strengthen its control over disputed, and potentially oil-rich, islands in the South China Sea.

Last April , Chinese fishing boats were stopped by the Philippine vessels at the disputed Scarborough Shoal , inside what Manila regards as its exclusive economic zone. The Phillipines deployed a navy ship, supplied by the U.S. the previous year. That led China to send more  military vessels of its own, escalating a standoff between the two countries.

The U.S. is taking advantage of the agressive attitude of China, and is building closer relations with Vietnam, Phillipines and the members of the ASEAN coalition.