MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines says China wants to survey potentially resource-rich seas off the country's northeast coast but Manila will agree only if a Filipino scientist is allowed to observe.
Acting Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo told ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday that a number of Chinese requests to survey Benham Rise have been denied because China rejected that condition. Some requests are still pending.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said that Chinese survey ships were spotted crisscrossing the Benham Rise area from July to December last year.
It was not clear what the ships were doing. The area is on the opposite side of the Philippines from where the countries are locked in a dispute over ownership of islands and shoals in the South China Seas.