Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

PH protests Chinese names in Benham

PH protests Chinese names in Benham

He told CNN Philippines this is part of what the government plans to raise with the worldwide organization that approved the Chinese names - the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) of the global Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO - of which the Philippines is not a member.

"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.

Critics have questioned why President Rodrigo Duterte's office allowed a group from China to undertake scientific research in the waters.

"Bahala kayo kung ano binigay niyo diyan basta kami magtatalaga kami ng Pilipinong pangalan (You can name it whatever you want, we will assign a Philippine name)", Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a media briefing on Thursday.

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.

As an example, that protocol, as preliminary, has NZGB requesting that other nations consult with it first before naming undersea features within its area of interest and submitting them to SCUFN.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was not aware of the specific details but said the naming of such features was permitted.

Translation: "If they were able to give Chinese names to the seamounts it's not far-fetched they will lay claims and construct structures and create artificial islands". "That's why, similarly, we can't simply be dismissive about China's naming of five seamounts within the Philippine Rise", said former Quezon representative Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada III, the Liberal Party (LP)'s vice president for external affairs.

However, the Chinese government submitted the names Jinghao Seamount (found at about 70 nautical miles east of Cagayan province), Tianbao Seamount (found at about 70 nautical miles east of Cagayan province), Haidonquing Seamount (found at about 190 nautical miles east of Cagayan province), Cuiqiao Hill, and Jujiu Seamount.

The diplomat was not identified, but a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said a year ago that Manila could not claim the Philippine Rise as part of its territory.

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

The Philippines is not a member of this subcommittee, he added. "What China has been doing is they are already bullying the Philippine government", Ejercito told reporters in an interview.

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

Like this: