‘We won’t claim Benham Rise,’ China assures Duterte
We will not claim Benham Rise.
That was the assurance of China to President Rodrigo Duterte after the presence of a Chinese survey ship in the resource-rich area raised local and international concerns.
“They explained that ‘we will not claim Benham Rise,’” Duterte said in a speech during the “Digong’s Day for Women,” which was held in Malacanang on Friday.
Benham Rise, located east off Aurora province, is believed to be rich in gas and mineral resources.
Defense Secretry Delfin Lorenzana ealier disclosed that Chinese survey ships had been spotted at Benham Rise for as long as three months last year. The Philippine Navy has since deployed ships to regularly patrol in the area.
China said it was only “exercising navigation freedoms and the right to innocent passage only, without conducting any other activities or operations” on the 13-million-hectare Benham Rise.
China earlier said the Philippines could not claim Benham Rise as its own territory even after the United Nations ruled that it was part of the country’s exclusive economic zone. /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.