Philippine, Vietnam leaders discuss disputed sea boundaries

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<pPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte and VietnamChina Sea, most of which is claimed by China.

<pDuterte said Friday, without elaborating, that he told Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in a meeting in Indonesia that such boundary talks may take longer because the Philippines is still establishing its continental shelf limit, or the country's outermost boundary.

<p"I told him that in due time, but we will take a longer period for we have to establish even our continental shelf limits," Duterte said he told Phuc in a meeting on the sidelines of a gathering of Southeast Asian leaders on Indonesia's Bali<p"But they're also claimants like us. They also have features that are inside our EEZ," Cayetano said, referring to the stretch of waters in which a coastal state enjoys internationally recognized rights to exclusively fish and extract oil and gas in the seabed.

<pCarl Thayer of the University of New South Wales, Canberra, said China would oppose the Philippine-Vietnam talks because Beijing claims most of the strategic waterway where the two Southeast Asian neighbors want to define their maritime boundaries.

<pEfforts by the two Southeast Asian nations to define their maritime boundaries are significant because ASEAN and China are negotiating a regional code to prevent clashes arising from overlapping claims. China, however, has not clearly defined its sweeping claims, Thayer said.

<pSome Southeast Asian countries have successfully forged agreements to delineate their overlapping exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the past, he said.