Philippine military to upgrade island facilities, not launch land grab

MANILA: The Philippines’ military said Friday (Apr 7) that it plans to upgrade and improve facilities on islands it already occupies in the disputed South China Sea, not embark on a new land grab.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that he had ordered the armed forces to “occupy all” remote reefs claimed by Manila, in a move that could provoke rival claimants including Beijing.

The firebrand leader said he wanted “nine or 10” islands occupied and fortified, but did not make clear whether he was referring to the nine islands already held by the army, or to some of the 40-odd other Spratly features also claimed by Manila.

“The context with which we take the order is to improve on our already occupied islands, islets and features,” military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo told AFP.

The defence department said the plan was to add military barracks, water desalination systems, power generators, light houses, and shelters for fishermen to the features that the Philippines currently occupy.

“The president recently announced plans to improve, and implement the Pag-asa development plan which includes nine areas,” Duterte spokesman Ernesto Abella said, referring Pag-asa municipality, the Philippines’ political subdivision for the Spratly islands that it claims.

“This is part of his mandate to serve the best interests of the nation,” he added.

Military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said he did not think Duterte’s order required the military to occupy further outcrops.

All other major outcrops inside the section of the Spratlys claimed by Manila are already occupied by troops from other claimant countries, Filipino maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal told AFP Friday.

Only a few “reefs and shoals” do not currently have soldiers on them, he said, adding that the Philippine government would likely back away from Duterte’s explosive original proposal.

China claims most of the sea and in recent years has been building up disputed reefs into artificial islands that can house military facilities, further raising tensions.

Duterte’s announcement was a sharp departure from his prior efforts to improve Manila’s relations with Beijing by adopting a non-confrontational approach over their competing claims in the strategically vital waters.

This has sparked domestic criticism that Duterte was not defending Philippine territory in the face of Chinese assertiveness.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Biển Đông (SCS), Philippines, Spratlys and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

Trả lời

Mời bạn điền thông tin vào ô dưới đây hoặc kích vào một biểu tượng để đăng nhập:

WordPress.com Logo

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản WordPress.com Log Out / Thay đổi )

Twitter picture

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Twitter Log Out / Thay đổi )

Facebook photo

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Facebook Log Out / Thay đổi )

Google+ photo

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Google+ Log Out / Thay đổi )

Connecting to %s