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Philippines rejects China's renaming of Benham Rise features

PhilStar Global logo PhilStar Global 14/2/2018 Patricia Lourdes Viray
China reportedly submitted the renaming of some features in Benham Rise to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans in April last year. OCEANA/UPLB © Philstar.com China reportedly submitted the renaming of some features in Benham Rise to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans in April last year. OCEANA/UPLB
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government stressed that it will not recognize the Chinese names given to some features in Benham or Philippine Rise.

Beijing had reportedly submitted to the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans the proposed names for undersea features in Benham Rise.

"We object and do not recognize the Chinese names given to some undersea features in the Philippine Rise," the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson said in a statement released Wednesday.

The Philippine Embassy in Beijing had raised the country's concern to China, according to the presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

"They are likewise considering a recommendation to officially notify the Chair of the International Hydrographic Organization-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (IHO-IOC GEBCO) Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names," the statement read.

READ: Lacson rues China naming Benham Rise features

Beijing reportedly submitted the renaming of the undersea feature to the IHO-IOC in April last year.

They are seeking to rename one of the features "Shouyang Ridge" which is another name for Chinese lunar January.

Chinese vessel Li Siguang Hao "discovered" the ridge in the Philippine Rise in September 2004. Those who discover ocean features with required supporting research get to name them.

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal of the University of the Philippines earlier confirmed that China was able to name five features in Benham Rise last year.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson warned that it might be a matter of time before China installs structures on more artificial islands in other areas near the Philippines.

"It's probably a matter of time before we see Chinese structures on more artificial islands. Damn us! Are we this helpless," Lacson said on Twitter.

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