MANILA, Philippines – China has maintained a continued naval presence on Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, which is widely seen as a preparation for the establishment of a permanent structure well within Philippine territorial waters in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
A confidential Philippine government report acknowledged that Beijing will use its growing military capability to assert its sovereignty and control in the disputed territories despite Manila’s assertions and continued diplomatic efforts to resolve the disputes.
Apart from the ships, it appears China has also been placing buoys as a “prelude” to the establishment of a permanent presence on the shoal.
Bajo de Masinloc, the largest atoll in the West Philippine Sea, which China calls Huangyan Island, sits on an area believed to hold vast mineral, oil, and gas reserves.
The Philippine government report of China’s continued naval presence comes after major developments involving the South China Sea disputes: China’s enforcement of a fisheries law and China state media reports that Beijing has readied a “detailed combat plan” to seize control of Pag–asa Island in the Kalayaan Island Group, located in the Philippine zone of the disputed Spratly islands.
“The Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Zhongye (Pag–Asa) Island, a Chinese island that it has illegally occupied for years,” the Qianzhan report said, emphasizing further: “The battle is aimed at recovery of the island stolen by the Philippines from China.”
Full article: China planning permanent structures on Bajo de Masinloc? (InterAkyson)