Manila, Philippinen – Despite its objections to China’s naming of undersea features in the Philippine Rise, Malacañang on Thursday cleared Beijing of any ill-motive and said it found no bad faith in the actions of its giant neighbor.
In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said, the process of naming newly discovered features in the United Nations system (UN) was a scientific process and not a political one.
Whoever made the discovery gets to decide what these are called, he said.
But China did not get sovereign rights over the features by naming them, Roque said, quickly adding that the Philippines would also insist on its naming rights.
“We’re not attributing any bad faith to China. We’re just saying, respect us too, that we would give Philippine names to them,” he said.
He insisted that the issue should not adversely affect the two countries’ ties as China had recognized the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the Philippine Rise, a 13-million hectare undersea plateau off Aurora province, that is part of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf.
It would be a different matter if the naming of the undersea features in concerned waters were the subject of an ongoing dispute, he said.
Roque explained that the process of naming the undersea features did not require that the Philippines be notified even if these involved discoveries that formed part of the Philippines’ continental shelf.
The Philippines is not a member of the UN’s Sub-committee on Undersea Feature Names, but the country would soon nominate its own expert to the body, he said.