September 25, 2017, 3:30 am
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Chinese interest in Benham Rise

The Department of National Defense (DND) hinted that China shows interest on Benham Rise, over which the Philippines has undisputed claim in the United Nations, with a potential plan: scouting for spots to park its submarines. If unimpeded, said DND, this foray could become another source of conflict among the Asian neighbors, who had already twisted earlier in the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) where Manila criticized against Beijing’s “excessive” claims in the South China Sea with its nine-dash line claim.

At a threat assessment forum in Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the leak on China’s forays in the Benham Rise area and said that Chinese ships have been spotted in the area sited in Northeastern Luzon. He added that there are satellite photos and incident reports provided the basis for his alert. In fact, he said, a Chinese ship believed in an accident in Benham Rise, prompting the survey team to send one of its men to a hospital in Surigao. Former national security adviser Roilo Golez had earlier on, in January, cautioned about China’s interest in Benham Rise and said that he fear China has its lustful eyes on our East Sea.

Aggression has been the mark of China in the past years. Our country does not want to add to the tension that China has been recklessly whipping up in Asia and the Asian region. China continues to challenge our sovereignty and laws by encroaching on our territory. China apparently covets the entire area because of its economic prospects. China’s motive is clear: To build up it’s military capability to pursue its economic interest. If only China could show the maturity in dealing with its rival countries in territorial disputes, it would gain more respect not only from its rival claimant-nations and Asian neighbors but also from the whole world. As it is, China is instead consolidating its power in the South China Sea, showing its might and ability to control the disputed territories, as well as the flow of commodities for its own economic gain. – Ann R. Aquino
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