World

After undersea naming protest, PH still trusts China

After undersea naming protest, PH still trusts China

WHEN the Philippine Government protested the approval by the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and its partner, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, of the Chinese names proposed for five undersea features of Philippine Rise (Benham Rise). the naming process has been rolling for 14 years.

The Philippines keeps in mind informing the global hydrographic body in order to ensure maritime survey, it also clearly conveyed its objection against the given name to China, according to spokesman Harry Roque Jr.

The Philippine government said Wednesday it would counter efforts by Beijing to formally assign Chinese names to undersea features in Benham Rise, a vast Pacific Ocean plateau east of the Philippines that Manila has declared as its territory.

"The Philippines, as many of you know, is not a member of the SCUFN, which is composed of 12 members".

"We are just saying, respect us too, that we will give Philippine names to them", the spokesman said.

China's foray into the Philippine Rise has caused concerns among nationalists in the Philippines, mistrustful of Chinese intentions after decades of disputes and perceived encroachments by Beijing in the South China Sea.

"Giving it a label carrying the name of the country emphasizes Philippine sovereign right and jurisdiction over the area".

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".

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana now plans to name underwater features of the Philippine Rise, following China's move.

"As for me I would also give these features Philippine names", he said in a text message sent to reporters.




These conditions have prompted the Philippines to ask other nations, including China, to help it map and survey the area.

The Philippines enjoys exclusive economic rights on the undersea ridge.

In June, when the military's Northern Luzon Command planted a flag undersea for the commemoration of Independence Day, a Chinese vessel was spotted anew.

Lawmakers said the Philippine government needed to respond immediately to China's move to name several undersea features in Philippine Rise.

He said diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China remain intact.

The Philippines is not a member of this subcommittee, he added.

"It is our sworn duty to fight and protect for our sovereignty and protect our territorial integrity". Trillanes decried China's "abusive actions".

Meanwhile, Magdalo Party-List Rep. Gary Alejano urged the Duterte administration to be more assertive and consistent in exercising the exclusive rights of the Philippines over the Benham Rise.

"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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