Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Reuters

A Philippines Supreme Court justice said in a statement that China cannot legally conduct seismic surveys to look for oil at Benham Rise off the archipelago’s northeastern coastline. The legal position is based on the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf’s position that the seismically active region is part of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf. In response to President Duterte’s soft stance that, while the country can tell China Benham Rise is off limits, they must do it in a friendly way, lawmakers have threatened to impeach him should he fail to protect the Philippines claim.

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