Chinese names for sea features flayed
The Philippine government rejects Chinese names given to some undersea features in a vast offshore region where the Philippines has undisputed sovereign rights, the presidential spokesman said yesterday in a new tiff despite the neighbours’ mended ties.
The Philippines has already raised its concern to China over its naming of the undersea features in Benham Rise and may officially notify the international hydrographic body that lists such records, spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said.
China proposed the names for the features in 2015 and 2017, he said.
In Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday that China has been participating in activities related to proposing names for undersea features “in accordance with international practice”and the rules of the international hydrographic body.
“China fully respects the Philippines’ continental shelf rights over Benham Rise,” said Geng Shuang, the Chinese spokesman. “Meanwhile, we hope the relevant parties can be objective and responsible in viewing relevant technical works.”
Benham Rise lies on the other side of the Philippine archipelago from the South China Sea, where Manila, Beijing and four other governments have been locked in territorial disputes.
Critics have questioned why President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration allowed a group from China to undertake scientific research in the waters given Manila’s long-simmering territorial conflict with Beijing in the South China Sea.
China has defied and refuses to comply with an international arbitration ruling that invalidated its claim to virtually all of the South China Sea on historical grounds.
“We object and do not recognise the Chinese names given to some undersea features in the Philippine Rise,” Roque said in a statement, using the name given by the Duterte administration to Benham Rise.