Extremely dangerous moment in South China (West Philippine) Sea

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WHEN China sureptitiously took Panatag shoal (Scarborough shoal) from an unsuspecting and naïve Aquino administration in 2012, few suspected that the stealthy Chinese maneuver would set off a series of events and developments that would turn the shoal into a flashpoint for a major-power confrontation in the Asia-Pacific.

Tension has been building up these past few years in the South China Sea, because of China’s unilateral claim to sovereignty over nearly all of the international waters, which are a vital passageway for global trade and parts of which are also claimed by Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines, as part of their exclusive economic zones under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

This week, the tension rose to crisis point because both China and the US have taken explicitly hard lines in approaching the developing situation.

First, as reported by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, China has made plans to establish an outpost on Scarborough Shoal, in much the same way that it has built infrastructure and military facilities on certain islets in the SCS (which is WPS or West Philippine Sea to us, Filipinos).

Extremely dangerous moment in South China (West Philippine) Sea

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