Wednesday, December 8, 2010

China continues to show might in Spratlys Islands

While our defense officials "defend" their plan to acquire military equipment from China, the region's economic powerhouse continues to develop its weak claim to the Spratlys islands by building more sovereign structures.

Last October, the Philippine Air Force showed a newly constructed lighthouse in one of the reef islands claimed by the Philippines. The 20x20 structure sits on top of the Zamora reef which is about 26 kilometers away from the town of Kalayaan, a recognized municipality of Palawan. From stilt structures, China has built massive structures that show how the economic giant intends to fortify its claim over the rest of the 160 islands and islets comprising the Spratlys group.

Beside China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Taiwan are claiming the island group as their own. The Philippines claims nine of the 53 islands inside the perceived oil-rich archipelago. There are about 160 islands altogether.

The Spratlys island group is one of the possible flashpoints in the region. These islands were discovered by the Philippines but because of the weakness of the state, the claims were slowly weakened and other countries have entered into the picture. All claimants have built their own structures there, in defiance to the Philippines which claims the entire archipelago. 

What will the Aquino administration do? Will it allow China to continues its illegal occupation of these islands?