National Security Adviser: PHL objects China’s naming initiatives

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said the Philippines does not recognize the Chinese names given to undersea features in the Philippine Rise.

“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.

SCUFN is operating under Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) – International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). SCUFN members are Germany (Chair), China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Italy and Russia.

Esperon said the undersea features named were the Jinghao and Tianbao seamounts, that were adopted by the SCUFN in October 2015, and the Jujiu seamount, in September 2016.

“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.