Chi­nese names for sea fea­tures flayed

Gulf News - - Asia / Philippines -

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.

Chi­nese state­ment

“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.

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