The BBC has published a multimedia report on the scramble for control over the South China Sea, with a particular focus on the clash between China and the Philippines. In the BBC report, entitled “China’s Island Factory,” reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes describes his journey on a Filipino fishing boat to visit “new islands” created by Chinese land reclamation in the South China Sea. He then visits two Philippines outposts in the Spratlys (Pagasa Island and the Sierre Madre, a Philippine Navy vessel grounded on Second Thomas Shoal) that Manila uses to legitimize its claims.
The Philippine government has been doing its best to call attention to China’s land reclamation projects in the South China Sea, part of Manila’s attempt to win over international opinion. The Philippines calls such actions provocative, a unilateral attempt to change the status quo. Back in May, the Department of Foreign Affairs protested the land reclamation in a statement and released before-and-after photos of the construction. At the recent ASEAN Regional Forum, Manila proposed a freeze on provocative moves in the South China Sea, including land reclamation projects. Beijing dismissed the proposal before the ARF even convened.