MANILA, Philippines, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- China and the Philippines engaged in diplomatic wrangling Thursday over what the ocean waters separating the two nations should be called.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino last week formally renamed the South China Sea the West Philippine Sea, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Philippine Foreign Ministry spokesman Raul Hernandez said the renaming was "an exercise of sovereign jurisdiction" over maritime areas "we consider indisputably ours."
China dismissed the name change as meaningless.
"South China Sea has been for a long time a geographic name universally recognized by the international community, and is widely accepted by countries all over the world and by international organizations such as the United Nations," said Hong Lei, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He said China has "indisputable sovereignty" over islands and adjacent waters in the sea.
Aquino signed an order Sept. 5 renaming as the West Philippine Sea all waters of the South China Sea within the country's exclusive economic zone.
Hernandez said the Philippines will present documentation about the name change to the United Nations and other international organizations and "we expect them to include it in the international maps."
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