China has shown patience, but it is committed to defending its territory, says commentary in the People’s Daily ahead of tribunal ruling on maritime disputes in the region
China is fully capable of removing a Philippine naval vessel set up as a permanent base in a disputed atoll in the South China Sea, but has so far shown restraint, the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece said on Monday.
The commentary in the People’s Daily comes ahead of an imminent ruling from a international court in The Hague on China’s claims to territory in the region’s disputed waters. The case was bought by the Philippines.
The Philippines Navy deliberately grounded an old US built landing craft on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea in 1999.
It has since kept a team of about a dozen military personnel on the ship to maintain occupation.
The shoal in the Spratly Islands chain is also claimed by China and is called Renai in Chinese.
China has repeatedly protested and asked for the removal of the craft.
Chinese coastguard vessels blocked Philippine supply ships’ attempts to approach the shoal two years ago and forced them to drop provisions by air to the already severely corroded craft.
“The story of the Renai Shoal best explains that China is fully capable of dragging away that Philippine vessel hanging in there,” said the People’s Daily.
Full article: PLA capable of removing Philippines military base in disputed area of South China Sea, warns Communist Party mouthpiece (South China Morning Post)