June 18, 2018

Philippines complains to China about naming of undersea…

15 February 2018, 06:42 | Taylor George

Philippines complains to China about naming of undersea…

Palace objects Chinese names given to some PH Rise undersea features

The government rejects Chinese names given to some undersea features in the Philippine Rise, a vast offshore region where the country has undisputed sovereign rights, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday in a new tiff despite the Asian neighbors' mended ties.

The embassy is likewise considering a recommendation to officially notify the Chair of the International Hydrographic Organization - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (IHO-IOC GEBCO) Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN).

A leader of the country's opposition party on Thursday criticized China for reportedly naming some underwater features of Benham Rise, saying such right only belongs to the Philippines as the territory is part of its extended continental shelf.

The Philippines on Wednesday said it would oppose what it said were attempts by Beijing to formally assign Chinese names to undersea features on part of Manila's continental shelf on its Pacific Ocean coast.

Roque has continuously assured that the Philippine government under President Rodrigo R. Duterte is not taking a softer stand on China's continued militarization in the disputed waters.

Philippine Rise sits near United States military bases in Guam and Hawaii, and there have been concerns China could be testing water depths for submarine routes from the South China Sea to the Pacific.

In Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Wednesday that China has been participating in activities related to proposing names for undersea features "in accordance with worldwide practice " and the rules of the global hydrographic body.

He said the features "successfully" named by China were Jinghao and Tianbao Seamounts located some 70 nautical miles east of Cagayan; the Haidonquing Seamount located east at 190 nautical miles; and the Cuiqiao Hill and Jujiu Seamount that form the central peaks of the Philippine Rise undersea geological province. "A government policy to name as many as they can to seed 'yung Chinese culture and really plant their cultural flags all over", Batongbacal said.

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Roque said all the government could do for now was to monitor and rely on China's "principle of good faith".

"The Philippines, as many of you know, is not a member of the SCUFN, which is composed of 12 members". He then added, "Naming doesn't mean they are claiming".

"I will be talking about it with NSA (Esperon) and other Cabinet members".

Philippine diplomats had raised their concern with the Chinese authorities, he said.

"We have the right to name our children because we have duties toward them, including protecting them".

"The successful naming of features within the Philippines' legal maritime territory further normalizes China's aggressive and all too often unlawful maritime behavior".

"It is our sworn duty to fight and protect for our sovereignty and protect our territorial integrity".

"That's very clear we have sovereign rights in that area and we can exploit and explore that area", he noted.

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