What is China up to in the West Philippine Sea?

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 18:26

by Alan Robles

China has been busily engaged in mysterious activities in the West Philippine Sea, aka South China Sea. Dredging and filling, it's apparently turning slivers of coral barely protruding above the water into full-fledged large islands.

What could all this island bodybuilding and buffing be for? It can't possibly be to build military bases bristling with guns, missiles, planes, and hostile-type installations intended to harass air and maritime traffic - right? After all China itself assures its intentions are purely peaceful and it OF COURSE is not encroaching on other countries' territories and stealing islands. It's probably prepared to swear this on the sainted relics of Mao, assuming it can locate them.

Cold War, hot words: Godwin's Law and South China Sea Diplomacy

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 10:48

by Alan Robles

Let's be clear about one thing: China is furious at the Philippines. Plenty mad.

When I asked a high-level source, "on a scale of one to 10, how angry is China at the Philippines?", he at once replied: "Nine."

It's THAT lawsuit. When Manila announced it was hauling Beijing before an arbitration court of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, it made the world's next superpower look petty and cheap, as if it were a shifty litigant with a dodgy claim in a property dispute. It's a loss of face not easily forgiven and the displeasure has been evident. In February, Chinese coast guard ships used water cannon to drive Filipino boats out of traditional fishing grounds at Panatag Shoal. This March, Chinese ships stopped Philippine vessels resupplying a Marine outpost at Ayungin Shoal, forcing our military to resort to an airdrop.

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