FUZHOU — Former Philippine Speaker Jose de Venecia said last Nov. 18 that Philippine national hero Jose Rizal, considered “Pride of the Malayan Race,” which includes the peoples of Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, had “Fujian, Chinese roots, and if alive today would be in the forefront of seeking inter-Asian reconciliation in the South China Sea.”
Here in Fuzhou, Fujian’s capital city, for the 110th Anniversary of the Fujian Normal University, with hundreds of members of Filipino-Chinese and Asian alumni in attendance, 81-year-old de Venecia, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s Special Envoy for APEC and Intercultural Dialogue, told newsmen:
“With the recent decision in ASEAN to begin the drafting of the China Sea Code of Conduct, key principles would include free navigation, open skies, common trade, tourism, hopefully joint exploration and joint development of petroleum resources, to be equitably shared, and taking into account contributions to oil drilling and development costs.”
De Venecia, 5-time Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives, and former President of the Petroleum Association of the Philippines, said under Presidents Xi Jinping and Rodrigo Duterte Philippine-Chinese relations “had improved considerably and major Chinese investments are beginning to flow in the Philippines and major Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs have established branches in various cities of China.”
In 2005, joining then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s state visit to China, then Speaker de Venecia proposed in Beijing a “tripartite oil seismic agreement in the South China Sea among the Philippines, China, and Vietnam which was approved by the three governments,” led to the launching of a commonly financed 3-nation seismic ship survey which he said found a “number of drillable structures in the South China Sea.”
In his speech yesterday at the Fujian Normal University anniversary rites, de Venecia said the great Chinese and Asian leader Deng Hsiao Peng said at the time that “we must consider suspending the issue of sovereignty” and proceed to drill for the region’s most urgent energy requirements and share the fruits of oil production. He said President Duterte and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano have been successful so far in improving the situation in the South China Sea.
Earlier in the 1970s in a speech before the Philippine Jaycees, de Venecia proposed multi-national drilling in the China Sea to include China and the U.S. He now adds that the U.S. has the most advanced oil drill ships in the world and today China has the largest oil drilling vessel in the sea.
In his speech followed by the Indonesian Ambassador to China, de Venecia said President Xi Jinping’s noble 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, following the pre-Marco Polo journeys across Central Asia, Eurasia, and to the Mediterranean, has now led to the Maritime Silk Road which goes all the way to Africa.
De Venecia proposed a “Third Route” across the China Sea to the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the U.S., in a New Age of Circumnavigation and Globalization.
He added the time has also come for the Latin Americans to journey across the South Pacific to trade with and invest also in Asia.
He said the recent APEC and ASEAN Summits in Vietnam and Manila had further improved Philippines-China and U.S. relations.