Chinese vessels detected near Philippine Rise

Kristine Daguno-Bersamina - Philstar.com
Chinese vessels detected near Philippine Rise
The Philippine Rise, formerly known as the Benham Rise, is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge located in the eastern Philippine seaboard facing the Pacific Ocean.
Malacañang Pool Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Recent reports reveal that two Chinese vessels have been monitored lingering in the waters near the resource-rich Philippine Rise, situated on the eastern side of northern Luzon.

Ray Powell, a former US Air Force official and ex-Defense Attaché, shared this information on X (formerly Twitter).

In Powell's post on Friday, he disclosed that two Chinese research vessels, Haiyang Dizhi Liuhao and Haiyang Dizhi Shihao, set sail from Longxue Island in Guangzhou on February 26.

"On 26 February, two research vessels left port at Longxue Island in Guangzhou, China & moved ESE through the Luzon Strait," he wrote on X.

"As of 1 March they are loitering east of Luzon in the NE corner of Benham (Philippine) Rise, which is in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone," he added.

Powell's map showed the Chinese vessels sailing between Basco, Batanes, and islands near the main Luzon island.

In September of last year, Powell showed a map displaying the presence of at least three Chinese survey ships in the eastern part of the Philippine Sea, close to the Philippine Rise.

Previously known as Benham Rise, the Philippine Rise is an underwater plateau in the northeastern seaboard of the country which is believed to be rich in oil, gas and marine resources.

The United Nations declared the underwater plateau as part of the Philippines’ continental shelf in 2012.

In May 2017, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order renaming Benham Rise to Philippine Rise, prompted by the presence of Chinese research vessels conducting surveys in the area.

Duterte emphasized that Benham Rise is under the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines, in accordance with the Constitution, national laws, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and relevant international laws.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry initially asserted that the Philippines cannot claim Benham Rise as its own despite the approval of the UN commission. Beijing later on reversed its statement, expressing full respect for the Philippines' rights over the continental shelf in Benham Rise.

In 1933, American admiral and geologist Andrew Benham discovered the undersea region situated 250 kilometers east of Dinapigue, Isabela.

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