Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spratlys Island Dispute: Have we no shame left

Shortly after being discovered like a child with a neighbour's candy in his hand, Chinese defense minister Liang Guanglie immediately went here and paid Philippine president Noynoy Aquino a visit. The visit came shortly after news reached the Philippines that six out of the seven islands which form part of the Kalayaan Group of Islands have already been garrisoned by the Chinese. 

Our nincoompoop of a president welcomed the Chinese envoy with open arms, probably oblivious why this important Chinese general is now in the country shaking hands with him.

Noynoy probably did not read the intelligence reports showing that the Chinese already built garrisons and infrastructures in six of the seven islands being claimed by the Philippines.

Meaning,the Chinese government already claimed those islands as their own, in defiance of Philippine laws and sovereignty.

Noynoy does not know perhaps that instead of welcoming this Chinese envoy like an important guest, he should have used the occasion to berate the Chinese over these illegal moves at the Spratlys islands.

Look at what the Taiwanese did to Mar Roxas. They showed their anger at him. 

Read the following news article published at the Philippine Star today:

Documents show that of the seven Chinese-occupied islands, six are located well within the Kalayaan Island Group. The military garrisons and outposts were located at Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, Calderon (Cuarteron) Reef, Gaven Reef, Zamora (Subi) Reef, Chigua (Dong Men Jiao) Reef and Panganiban reef, better known as Mischief Reef.

At Kagitingan Reef, China built a permanent communications and maritime observatory garrison that can house 200 troops. China built a helicopter landing pad, a 300-meter long wharf allowing supply ships and patrol boats to dock, a two-storey barracks and a 500-square meter plantation area. Beijing designated the Kagitingan Reef as its main command headquarters as it is equipped with satellite data transmission, surface and air search radars. This garrison is armed with at least four high-powered naval guns and several gun emplacements.
China built permanent reef fortresses and supply platforms at the Calderon, Gaven and Chigua reefs. These supply platforms can resist winds up to 71 knots and are equipped with VHF / UHF communications equipment, search radars as well as naval guns and anti-aircraft guns. These three supply platforms can also serve as docks for Chinese navy patrol boats.
At Zamora Reef, China has built a permanent reef fortress and supply platform that can house 160 troops. This garrison has a helipad and is armed with four twin barrel 37-millimeter naval guns.
Panganiban Reef now has four building complexes with 13 multi-storey buildings. Fifty Chinese Marines are permanently stationed there and are equipped with satellite communications equipment. China has undertaken several lagoon construction activities at Panganiban Reef. The construction of additional facilities at Panganiban Reef is apparently aimed at establishing pre-positioned bases in the South China Sea, enabling Beijing to project its influence and power in the disputed islands.
Documents also show that apart from the military garrisons and outposts, China is aggressively pursuing large-scale maritime projects aimed at cementing its claim on the Spratlys. These projects include construction of port facilities, airports, navigation buoys, lighthouses, ocean observatories and maritime meteorology networks.
Documents also show that China has built up its facilities at Panganiban Reef. In 1995, Manila and Beijing had a diplomatic dispute when China started building structures on the reef. At that time, China said the structures were shelters for its fishermen but questions were raised as the “shelters” were equipped with satellite communications and radars.

For other countries, this is enough reason to sound the alarm. But, no. 

The Philippine government continues to show weakness, even at the point of overwhelming evidence of Chinese intrusions over Philippine territory. 

Someone has to do something to at least take our pride and our shame back.