Manila rejects China's naming undersea features in Philippine Rise
The Philippines will inform the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) of its opposition over China's naming of undersea features in the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, off eastern Luzon, Malacanang said on Wednesday.
"We object and do not recognize the Chinese names given to some undersea features in the Philippine Rise," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a statement.
Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said IHO has approved China's proposal to name five undersea features in the Philippine Rise. The features were reportedly "discovered" during the surveys conducted by China in 2004 and submitted the names for consideration by the IHO.
Roque said according to the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, Manila has raised concern to China over its move.
"They are likewise considering a recommendation to officially notify the Chair of the IHO-Intergovernmental Ocenaographic Commission General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (IHO-IOC GEBCO) Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN)," he said.
He noted, however, that the Philippines is not a member of the SCUFN, which is composed of 12 members.
Roque said China's proposal to rename some undersea features in the Philippines were submitted to SCUFN during its meetings in Brazil on Oct. 12-16, 2015 and Sept. 19-23, 2017.
Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to stop all the scientific research of other countries in the Philippine Rise following criticisms about government's approval of China's request to do the study in the area.
The Duterte administration approved Beijing's request to conduct a research in the Philippine Rise despite its refusal to recognize the arbitral award to the Philippines on their territorial dispute in South China Sea. Celerina Monte/DMS