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 Philippines has already raised its concern to China over its naming of the undersea features in Benham Rise and may officially notify an international hydrographic body, which lists such maritime records, Roque said.
China proposed the names in Benham in 2015 and 2017, he said.
Benham Rise lies on the other side of the archipelago from where Manila, Beijing, and four other governments have been locked in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Critics have questioned why President 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 recognize 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.
Duterte ordered an end last week to all foreign scientific research missions in Benham Rise after officials said the Philippines’ undisputed sovereign rights in the potentially oil- and gas-endowed body of water off its northeastern coast came under question.
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