The Philippines has begun moving military forces to the disputed Pag-asa Island in the South China Sea
(WASHINGTON, DC) Pag-asa Island is claimed by both Manila and Beijing and according to a Philippine general the pacific U.S. ally has plan to build infrastructure and lengthen the airstrip on the island.
The troops and initial supplies arrived at Pag-asa Island last week, Lt. Gen. Raul del Rosario, head of the Philippine military’s Western Command, said as quoted by AP.
Some 1.6 billion pesos (US$32 million) has been set aside for construction on the island, which will include reinforcing and lengthening and airstrip and building a dock, according to the official.
Solar power, a desalination plant and refurbishment of military housing, as well as sites for marine research and tourists, are set to be built on the island.
Earlier this month, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua warned that any construction on the island, known internationally as Thitu, would be illegal.
Zhao added that China would give “warning” to any intruding aircraft in the island’s airspace, as well as any unwelcome planes which may fly in the airspace of the larger Kalayaan Island Group.
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs shrugged off Zhao’s statements, with spokesman Robespierre Bolivar stating that the island and the Kalayaan Island Group are “a municipality of Palawan,” a province of the Philippines.
Full article: Philippine forces call Beijing’s bluff in South China Sea (TruNews)