13 March 2017

News Story: China denies intentionally sailing to Benham Rise & Phl to China - Explain ship in Benham Rise

China denies intentionally sailing to Benham Rise

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Philippines (Philippines News Agency) - Chinese Embassy on Saturday denied it intentionally sailed to Benham Rise in eastern part of Luzon off Aurora and Quezon province, saying they simply passed by international sea.

In their website, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said their ships had the right of freedom of navigation in those waters, and its research ships did pass through seas northeast of Luzon Island last year.

"But this is purely carrying out normal freedom of navigation and right of innocent passage, and there were no so-called other activities or operations," he said after their embassy received letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). "Comments from individuals in the Philippines on this do not accord with the facts."

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said Chinese ships were monitored in recent months at locations near the Philippines, with a warship spotted 70 miles off its western coast in the South China Sea and survey ships seen to the north and south of its eastern seaboard.

Read the full story at PhilStar


Phl to China: Explain ship in Benham Rise

By Janvic Mateo

MANILA, Philippines -  The Philippines – through its ambassador to Beijing Jose Santiago Santa Romana – has officially asked China to explain the reported presence of one of its vessels in Benham Rise in the Pacific, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

“The Philippines has expressed its concern about the reported presence of a Chinese ship in Benham Rise, which has been recognized by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf as Philippine waters,” the DFA said in a statement.

“The Philippines has sent a note to the Chinese embassy seeking clarification on this,” it added.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said that they are still awaiting the Chinese response through official channels, but cited the media statement of the Chinese foreign ministry regarding the matter.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang confirmed the reported presence of its ship in eastern Philippines last year but maintained that it was simply exercising its freedom of navigation.

Read the full story at PhilStar