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National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. releases statement on China’s naming of certain seamounts near the Philippine Rise

  • National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. releases statement on China’s naming of certain seamounts near the Philippine Rise
  • 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 13 February 2018

China’s proposal to name three (3) seamounts near the Philippine Rise was granted by  the Subcommittee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) – International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).  These were the Jinghao and Tianbao seamounts, that were adopted by the SCUFN in October 2015, and the Jujiu seamount, in September 2016. 

The decision of the SCUFN was made without due consultation with the Philippine Government.  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.  Decisions by the SCUFN are deemed as final and non-appealable. 

Because of the numerous complaints from many countries regarding its supposed arbitrary and unregulated decision-making process,  the SCUFN decided to suspend last year the processing of pending proposals for the naming of undersea features worldwide.  Nonetheless our diplomatic posts have been alerted against such future applications in Philippine waters.



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 13 February 2018.  We do not recognize the Chinese names given to these undersea features in the Philippine Rise.

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