Under Pressure: Philippine Construction Provokes a Paramilitary Response

February 6, 2019  |  AMTI BRIEF

Under Pressure: Philippine Construction Provokes a Paramilitary Response

On February 4, Philippine defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced that construction of a new beaching ramp at Thitu Island would be completed in early 2019. Thitu is the largest of the nine features occupied by the Philippines in the Spratlys Islands and is home to about 100 civilians along with a small military garrison. The ramp, which was originally scheduled for completion in 2018, will facilitate the delivery of construction equipment and materials to the island for further planned upgrades, especially to its crumbling runway. AMTI previously tracked the start of repair work on the runway in May 2018, but that appears to have been halted while the beaching ramp is completed. Continue reading “Under Pressure: Philippine Construction Provokes a Paramilitary Response”
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A place called ‘hope’: the tiny island on the frontline of US-China tensions

More than 100 Filipinos live 15 miles from one of Beijing’s most ambitious island bases in the South China Sea

A Filipino soldier patrolling the shore of Pagasa island (Thitu Island) in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea.
A Filipino soldier patrolling the shore of Pagasa island (Thitu Island) in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea. Photograph: Reuters

On the horizon, the azure sea water stops and the white, concrete structures of the Chinese military base rise up.

“Sometimes we get nervous because we are only civilians. If they invade the island, they can harm us. They can do whatever they want,” says Romeo Malaguit, a fisherman and father of two, who lives on the nearby Philippine-claimed island Thitu.

Locally known as Pag-asa, meaning hope in Tagalog, Thitu is a tree-studded settlement no more than 1.5km long and 800 metres wide. A dilapidated runway takes up almost half the area. Continue reading “A place called ‘hope’: the tiny island on the frontline of US-China tensions”

Việt Nam reaffirms sovereignty over Trường Sa

vietnamnews

Update: May, 09/2017 – 10:20

As asserted many times previously, Việt Nam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence proving its sovereignty over Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelago, stated Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp

HÀ NỘI — As asserted many times previously, Việt Nam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence proving its sovereignty over Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelago, stated Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng. Continue reading “Việt Nam reaffirms sovereignty over Trường Sa”

China, Philippines spar over military visit to island

Al Jaazeera

China voices displeasure after high-profile Philippine military brass visit disputed island in the South China Sea.

Troops march as a plane carrying Philippine military brass arrives on Pag-asa island [Bullit Marquez/AP]

China has protested about a visit by Philippine military chiefs to a disputed island in the South China Sea, but Manila maintained on Saturday that it owns the territory where Filipino troops and villagers have lived for decades.

The public argument comes amid a thaw in once-frosty relations between the neighbours after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office last June and moved to rekindle Manila’s friendship with Beijing, which has been strained by long-seething territorial disputes. Continue reading “China, Philippines spar over military visit to island”