PH not consulted on China’s naming of Benham features — Esperon
The decision on China’s proposal to name some undersea features in Philippine Rise was made by a subcommittee of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) without due consultation with the Philippine government, National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon said on Thursday.
It was the 12-member Subcommittee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) under the IHO that approved China’s proposals naming at least three undersea features within the country’s exclusive economic zone at Philippine Rise.
“The decision of the SCUFN was made without due consultation with the Philippine Government,” Esperon said in a statement.
Nevertheless, he added, the decisions of the subcommittee are “deemed as final and non-appealable.”
China made the proposals in 2014 after doing a survey in 2004, according to Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, in a Facebook post on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.
“As a matter of procedure, the approval of proposals for the naming of undersea features are decided upon solely by the 12-member SCUFN composed of Germany (Chair), China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Italy and Russia,” he said.
Esperon maintained that the Philippine government would not recognize the Chinese names given to the undersea features.
Last year, Esperon said the SCUFN decided to suspend the processing of pending proposals for the naming of undersea features worldwide.
This was due to the complaints of many countries on its supposed arbitrary and unregulated decision-making process.
“Nonetheless our diplomatic posts have been alerted against such future applications in Philippine waters,” he said.
“While the approval by the SCUFN 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 February 13, 2018,” Esperon said. /cbb
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.