China respects PHL rights over Benham but hopes for professional attitude

“China respects the relevant rights enjoyed by the Philippines concerning the Benham Rise,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said during February 14 press conference.

“Meanwhile, we also hope that the relevant parties can view relevant technological work with a professional and responsible attitude,” Geng Shuang added.

This is amid the issue on China’s naming of undersea features in Philippine Rise which was rejected by Philippine side.

“The Sub-Committee On Undersea Feature Names is a specialized international organization in charge of establishing standards on naming undersea geographic features. According to the deliberation rules of this organization, the relevant countries and individuals may submit naming proposals on the unnamed undersea features which are twelve nautical miles away from the littoral states,” the Chinese spokesperson said.

“The Chinese side is always engaged in the relevant work in accordance with the international practices and the rules of this organization,” he added.

However, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said the Philippines does not recognize the Chinese names given.

“While the approval by the SCUFN [Subcommittee on Undersea Feature Names] does not confer to the applicant country sovereignty and jurisdiction over the seamounts, the Philippine Government had nonetheless raised its objection to China’s recent initiatives, during the meeting of the Philippines-China Bilateral Consultative Mechanism held on 13 February 2018,” Esperon said.

“Decisions by the SCUFN are deemed as final and non-appealable,” Esperon noted. “Because of the numerous complaints from many countries regarding its supposed arbitrary and unregulated decision-making process, the SCUFN decided to suspend last year the processing of pending proposals for the naming of undersea features worldwide.”

“Nonetheless our diplomatic posts have been alerted against such future applications in Philippine waters,” he added.