Philippine president Benigno Aquino's office said Monday it was renaming the East Sea as the 'West Philippine Sea', as tensions with Beijing mount over the disputed area.
For illustration purposes only Photo: Internet
The East Sea is believed to sit on vast oil and gas resources.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the foreign affairs and defence departments recently began using the term 'West Philippine Sea' instead of the 'South China Sea' being used by China, and the president's office had decided to follow suit.
'It is incumbent on us to take the cue from them and to refer to South China Sea as West Philippine Sea,' he said.
Mr Lacierda pointed out other countries had similar practices.
'All the other nations call the South China Sea based on how they perceive it. Vietnam calls it East Sea so it is but natural for us to call it West Philippine Sea,' he said.