The Chinese government is preparing to construct a permanent structure in the Scarborough Shoal situated 124 nautical miles west of Zambales and is within the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines and 1,000 kilometers from the nearest major Chinese land mass, Hainan island.
Sansha City top official who administered China’s island claims since 2012 was quoted by the official Hainan Daily newspaper, saying that preparations were underway to build an “environmental monitoring station” on Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal off the northwestern Philippines.
Sansha Communist Party Secretary Xiao Jie was quoted as saying in an interview published in the paper’s Monday edition seen online yesterday in Beijing, that a preliminary work preparation on the stations and others on five other islands in the disputed territory was among the government’s top priorities for 2017. however gave no other details.
A very desperate move by China to assert its claims in the strategically contested area. According to Beijing, the Scarborough Shoal is a part of Chinese territory based on their nine-dash lines and no one can stop them from reclaiming and putting up structures on the Shoal.
China took effective control of the shoal after an April 2012 stand-off with the Philippine Navy and has since blocked Filipino fishermen from entering the shoal.
Meanwhile, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio explained that the Scarborough Shoal or “Bajo de Masinloc” has been historically part of the Philippines since 1636 and there is not a single official map, ancient documents or ancient artifact showing China has ever set foot on “Bajo de Masinloc”. – JCE