China and the Philippines could begin exploiting long-untapped energy reserves in the South China Sea, according to reports coming out of this week’s meeting between Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and high-ranking Chinese officials — including a Thursday sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping — in Beijing. How soon that may happen remains unclear, however,

as Duterte cautioned reporters that he has not been empowered by his Congress to finalize any energy exploration deal with his Chinese counterparts. Earlier reports by Philippine newspaper the “Inquirer” suggested that Beijing and Duterte were set to enter into an agreement to explore for energy sources in a part of the South China Sea close to the Philippine coastline. FULL REPORT