No coordination from China over foray in Benham Rise -- DFA

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 2, 2017

Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague found that China's claims to the South China Sea - including waters claimed by the Philippines - are not legitimate under UNCLOS, a ruling that China has broadly ignored.

According to Manalo, Beijing has made a request to make research activities in Benham Rise which is believed to be very rich in natural resources.

"Because they are claiming it, so I can understand".

China had asked the Philippines to be allowed to conduct "research" in the area during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, but was rejected. "We are one big country with a big EEZ that doesn't have image satellites much more communication satellites", he added.

Esperon said the government should build up those capabilities to have a better view and management of Philippine resources.

He said a Chinese survey ship was monitored plying the maritime territory for as long as three months previous year.

The president ordered the foreign ministry and executive secretary's offices to study changing the territory's name to emphasize Philippine sovereign rights, he said.

"As what to our National Security Adviser (Hermogenes Esperon Jr.) demonstrated, it is exercising freedom of navigation in that area", Gatchalian said referring to Esperon's statement during a Senate hearing on Wednesday. Officials from the Philippine's Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have been invited to China to discuss a bilateral consultation mechanism concerning the disputed areas of South China Sea.

Montero said Acting ForeignSecretary Enrique Manalo met with Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua to clarify details.

In remarks during the culmination of International Women's Month Friday night at Malacañang grounds, Duterte said he learned of Beijing's position during a joint command conference by the military and the police, where he was also told that the Philippines has sole sovereign rights over Benham Rise.

MANILA, April 1 The Philippines said on Saturday it was planning to change the name of a stretch of water east of the country in a bid to highlight its sovereignty over the area, which was surveyed recently by a Chinese vessel.

Should the Chinese government comply with the condition that a Filipino scientist should be on board to observe the study, the Philippine government may grant the request to make research activities in Benham Rise.

Benham Rise, named after U.S. geologist Andrew Benham who first discovered it in 1933, spans 13 million hectares and is believed to be rich in marine resources, natural gas, oil, and minerals. "I don't see [threats] in the near future", Esperon said in a Senate hearing on Wednesday, March 29. "So if you can merge their equipment and our talent then we can jointly conduct exploration in that area", he added.

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