MANILA – China’s land reclamation activities at Panganiban Reef, internationally known as Mischief Reef, could be its first step in gradually restricting the Philippines’ access to Ayungin Shoal and the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
But for one analyst, the bigger objective of China is to put in place a “strategic triangle” in the South China Sea which are anchored on three areas: the Paracel Islands, Fiery Cross Reef and Scarborough Shoal.
“If China succeeds, they would control the South China Sea and devour most of the West Philippine Sea,” asserted former congressman and naval officer Roilo Golez. This, he stressed, is a “simple, plain classic power play devoid of any basis in international law.”
The Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies showed the presence of several dredgers and cargo ships at Mischief Reef, engaged in massive reclamation activities. A satellite image, dated March 16, 2015, showed the creation of small artificial islands which had fortified seawalls. Another image showed the presence of a transport ship that can carry up to 800 soldiers and 20 armed amphibious vehicles.