PH objects to China’s naming of PH Rise features

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2018 11:59 AM

A Filipino technical diver inspects the coral cover during an expedition at Benham Rise last May 26, 2016. Screengrab from a video produced by Oceana Philippines.

MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday said it objects to China’s move to name five undersea features at the Philippine Rise (Benham Rise).

"We object and do not recognize the Chinese names given to some undersea features in the Philippine Rise. Per our Philippine embassy in Beijing, they have already raised our concern to China,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Dr. Jay Batongbacal, an associate professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law and director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said in a Facebook post Monday that the International Hydrographic Organization approved in 2017 the names proposed by China.

The features named by China include the Jinghao and Tianbao Seamounts, which are located some 70 nautical miles east of Cagayan province.

Another feature is called Haidonquing Seamount, which is found east at 190 nautical miles, Batongbacal said.

Two other features are Cuiqiao Hill and Jujiu Seamount, which form the central peaks of the Philippine Rise undersea geological province.

He said three of the features were reported to have been discovered in 2004 during a survey by Li Siguang Hao of the China Navy Hydrographic Office. The names were submitted for consideration in 2014.

Batongbacal added the two features were also reported discovered by the same vessel during the same survey, but the proposals were submitted by the China Ocean Minerals R&D Association in 2016.

"All are within 200 nautical miles of the east coast of Luzon, not in the region of the extended continental shelf, but well within the 'legal' continental shelf," he said.