Home Asia Manila To Block China’s Construction Of Artificial Island On Disputed Shoal

Manila To Block China’s Construction Of Artificial Island On Disputed Shoal


The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) says it will prevent China from undertaking reclamation projects at Sabina Shoal in the South China Sea and well within it’s exclusive economic zone. A Philippines Coast Guard spokesman said two ships had been dispatched to Sabina Shoal and will remain there on rotation amid apprehensions that the dispute will escalate.

The coast guard said it had discovered piles of dead and crushed coral that had been dumped on the sandbars of Sabina Shoal, altering their sizes and elevation. PCG spokesperson Jay Tarriela told a press conference on Monday the Coast Guard had to make sure it was able to prevent “China from carrying out a successful reclamation in Sabina Shoal.”

He said the coast guard was committed to maintaining a presence at the shoal, which Manila calls Escoda. The shoal is the rendezvous point for vessels carrying out resupply missions to Filipino troops stationed on a grounded warship at the Second Thomas Shoal, where Manila and China have had frequent maritime run-ins.

China has carried out extensive land reclamation on some islands in the South China Sea, building air force and other military facilities, causing concern in Washington and around the region.

Tarriela believed the coast guard had been effective in deterring China from doing small-scale reclamation. It had not documented any activity from the Chinese vessels present in Sabina Shoal since it deployed its multi-role response vessel there in mid April.

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“China does not want to get caught,” Tarriela said.

There was no immediate comment from the Chinese Embassy in Manila on Tarriela’s remarks.

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and the adjacent waters,” it said in a statement on Sunday.

China asserts ownership over nearly the entire South China Sea, encompassing areas claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration determined that Beijing’s claims lacked a basis under international law, a ruling that China continues to reject.

With Inputs from Reuters