China has reconfirmed its commitment to joint oil and gas exploration and development in the South China Sea despite a recent Philippine Supreme Court ruling that declared void and unconstitutional an earlier agreement between China, the Philippines and Vietnam to jointly explore in the water’s disputed areas.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a recent press conference: “China remains committed to properly handling maritime disputes in the South China Sea with countries directly concerned, including the Philippines, through dialogue and consultation, and to actively exploring ways for practical maritime co-operation, including joint exploration.”