Just as China promised the world they would not militarize the man-made islands they have been building in the South China Sea — but then deployed fighter and other military aircraft on airstrips in the region, and air-defense weapons systems — the communist state is now building “environmental monitoring stations” on islands very near the Philippines, whose ownership has been disputed for some time.
Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, a triangle-shaped chain of coral reefs, has been at the center of the South China Sea controversy. The Philippines has long claimed sovereignty of the island but China seized the territory in 2012, exerting control over Filipino fisherman that had long fished there. The Philippines territorial claims were upheld by a U.N. tribunal, but China has ignored the ruling.
This week, Xiao Jie, the mayor of Sansha City on Woody Island in the Parcels — the administrative base of China’s claims over the South China Sea territories —said China plans to begin building environmental monitoring stations on many of the islands it controls in the area, including Scarborough Shoal.
The installations, with docks and other infrastructure are said to be part of erosion control and restoration efforts, reported Reuters.
With Secretary of State Rex Tillerson now active in the Asian area, this seems a response from China, saying they will not back off their militarization of the South China Sea and will even increase its efforts in doing so.