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Philippine elections

South China Sea issue will weigh on next Philippine president

Marcos favors engagement with Beijing, Robredo still looks to allies

Whether it be Ferdinand Marcos Jr. or Leni Robredo after May 9, the disputed South China Sea will continue to be the most serious foreign policy challenge for the next president of the Philippines. (Source photos by AP and Getty Images) 

MANILA -- Just two days before the Philippines and China held a virtual summit between President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping on April 8, Manila ordered a domestic oil and gas company to suspend its exploration work in a disputed part of the South China Sea.

"We were asked to stop all activities because the president will be talking to Xi Jinping," said Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of PXP Energy, the parent company of the service contract holder on the resource-rich Reed Bank.

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