China is preparing to seize Pag-asa Island Philippine territory. As reported by the Qianzhan (Prospects) business and strategy info site, the Chinese military has drawn up an attack plan for execution this year. The alleged strategy is to contain the hostilities within the disputed Spratly archipelago, at the eastern edge of which are Pag-asa and eight other Philippine islets and shoals.
The nine sea formations comprise the municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan. More than 250 civilians permanently reside in the biggest, Pag-asa, under a mayor and a town council. Most are fishermen, seafood traders, and goatherds. An undisclosed number of Philippine Marines hold base. Pag-asa has its own waterworks, sun- and diesel-powered electric plant, cell phone site, seaport, airstrip, town hall, schoolhouses, and chapels.
China has been lusting for Pag-asa for decades. It claims historic right over all of the Spratlys and the South China (West Philippine) Sea by virtue of an unfounded ancient map. The area is rich in undersea food and fuel (5.4 billion barrels) reserves. A Chinese naval assault of Pag-asa reportedly will spring northward from the smaller Chinese-held Sansha Island, and westward from Mischief Reef, which Beijing grabbed from the Philippines in 1995. In 2012 Beijing also occupied the traditional Filipino fishing grounds, Scarborough Shoal.