Think tank warns: China deploys jet in SCS


CHINA has deployed a military aircraft to a base it had built on a reclaimed island in the South China Sea, photos from an American think tank released Wednesday confirmed.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative published photos taken from April 28 showing a military aircraft, a Shaanxi Y-8, at Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands.

AMTI said the Y-8 was “designed as a military transport aircraft, but some variants are used for maritime patrol or signals intelligence.”

“This should be particularly concerning to the Philippines, which has about 100 civilians and a small military garrison on Thitu Island just 12 nautical miles away,” the think tank said.

Reiterating its plea for “diplomatic space,” the Philippines has yet to comment on China’s fresh move deploying military aircraft to a base it built over its reclaimed island in the South China Sea.

Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin on Thursday urged the government to take drastic action against China on its continuing militarization of the West Philippine Sea.

“The militarization of the WPS poses a clear and present danger on our sovereignty,” Villarin said. Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday aired his support for a Senate investigation of China’s installation of three missile systems on three fortified outposts in the disputed Spratly Island.

Senator Bam Aquino said he would file a resolution to look into the Chinese bases on Philippine territory.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has already filed Senate Resolution 722, urging the Senate to investigate China’s installation of missiles on three fortified outposts in the disputed territories.

AMTI said that, with the recent deployment, military aircraft had landed on all three of China’s airstrips on the Spratly Islands after a naval patrol aircraft also landed at Fiery Cross Reef in April 2016 and 2 Xian Y-7 military transport aircraft were seen on Mischief Reef in a photo dated Jan. 6. Sara Susanne D. Fabunan, Maricel V. Cruz and Macon Araneta

The Permanent Court of Arbitration has ruled in 2016 that Mischief Reef is part of the Philippine continental shelf.