China to build on disputed shoal in South China Sea


Boats at Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea are shown in this handout photo provided by Planet Labs, and captured on March 12, 2016. REUTERS/Planet Labs/Handout via Reuters

China will begin preparatory work this year for an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, an official said, as two U.S. senators introduced a bill to impose sanctions on its activities in the disputed waterway.

China seized the strategic shoal, which is also claimed by the Philippines, in 2012 and the United States has warned Beijing against carrying out the same land reclamation work there that it has done in other parts of the South China Sea.

This week, Xiao Jie, the mayor of what Beijing calls Sansha City, an administrative base for disputed South China Sea islands and reefs it controls, said China planned preparatory work this year to build environmental monitoring stations on a number of islands, including Scarborough Shoal.

The monitoring stations, along with docks and other infrastructure, form part of island restoration and erosion prevention efforts planned for 2017, Xiao told the official Hainan Daily.

The report comes ahead of a visit to Beijing at the weekend by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, where he is expected to reiterate U.S. concern about Chinese island building.

Tillerson has called the activity “illegal” and last June, then U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned that any move by China to reclaim land at Scarborough Shoal would “result in actions being taken by the both United States and … by others in the region which would have the effect of not only increasing tensions, but isolating China.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, Anna Richey-Allen, said it was aware of the Chinese report and reiterated a call on South China Sea claimants to avoid building on disputed features.

The Philippine foreign ministry declined to comment, saying it was trying to verify the reports.

Washington stresses the importance of free navigation in South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year. China claims nearly all of the sea and Washington is concerned its island-building is aimed at denying access to the waters.

This week, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin introduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, which would ban visas for Chinese people helping to build South and East China Sea projects.

It would also sanction foreign financial bodies that “knowingly conduct or facilitate a significant financial transaction for sanctioned individuals and entities” if China steps up activity at Scarborough Shoal, among other actions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called the bill “extremely grating” and said it showed the “arrogance and ignorance” of the senators.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia expert at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said it was unclear if China planned dredging work at Scarborough Shoal, something that could wreck efforts to agree a code of conduct for the region that Beijing professes to support.

She noted that parties to a 2002 declaration of conduct had agreed to refrain from inhabiting uninhabited features.

During his January confirmation hearing, Tillerson said China should be denied access to islands it has built up in the South China Sea. He subsequently softened his language, saying that in the event of an unspecified “contingency,” the United States and its allies “must be capable of limiting China’s access to and use of” those islands to pose a threat.

(This version of the story was corrected to fix spelling of Glaser in paragraph 13)

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd; Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato in Manila and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and James Dalgleish)

Source: Reuters “China to build on disputed shoal in South China Sea”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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4 Comments on “China to build on disputed shoal in South China Sea”

  1. Steve says:

    The arrogance and ignorance of these US senators to introduce a SCS and ECS sanctions act is laughable and delusional. Just like the PCA award, it’s unenforceable unless a breakout of war is imminent to determine the winner. Its common knowledge that these hegemonic scoundrels has no respect for international law when the US illegally invaded Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. The SCS and ECS is not a walk in the park as in Libya or Syria for the US.
    Huangyan island is a strategic location as a gateway to the Pacific ocean and compliment an ADIZ with the Parcels and Spratlys covering the SCS.

    Was there a backdoor deal negotiation between China and Philippines regarding Huangyan and Zhongye island.? How would the Filipino fishermen and Filipinos view Scarborough shoal when China starts to build on it.

    Like

  2. Mad Max says:

    1. “This week, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin introduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, which would ban visas for Chinese people helping to build South and East China Sea projects.

    It would also sanction foreign financial bodies that “knowingly conduct or facilitate a significant financial transaction for sanctioned individuals and entities” if China steps up activity at Scarborough Shoal, among other actions.”

    These psychopathic war-mongering Amerikan neocons from the “swamp” never change. They insist on stoking the inflames to a world war.

    No wonder that stupid Rubio failed to win the U.S. GOP Presidential election.

    The behaviour of these disgusting self-serving corrupt politicians claming to represent Americans, are but a maifestation of the war between the Imperial Hegemon – Amerika – and the rest of the world.

    Listen, Rubio *rsehole, the minute you remove your military bases in Okinawa, Jeju and Yokohama, Beijing will reconsider your “request”. Your bl**dy nukes, missiles, and bombs are aimed at China as are the purpose of your warships, warplanes and other armoured vehicles parked there roaming and patrolling and surveilling China at will as though you are NEW CONQUEROR of East Asia.

    We want you OUT of East Asia.

    Which side is is Mr “*rsehole” Rubio on? Mr Trump and his Administration or the “great hypocrite” Obama’s neocons?

    In a war, Beijing is not afraid of your threats, mister.

    Like

  3. Mad Max says:

    Readers and Filipinos be not naive. There is a war between China and Amerika and Japan.

    And in a war, you think either side cares who lives in that house? Their soldiers’ job is to occupy the strategic high ground secure their territory. You think the Americans care two hoots about Filipinos – women, children, men – living in Manila when they want to wrest it from the Imperial Japanese troops? You remain there you become collateral damage. By the millions when bombardment begins. Who cares?

    So, do try to be smart and insert yourself between the Chinese and the Amerikans/Japanese. You will get burnt. Don’t be greedy.

    The war time crimes of the Japanese Imperial Troops in China have not yet been forgotten by the Chinese. All it takes is a spark,an excuse for duplicitous Abe, “militant son of a war criminal” to step beyond the red line, and missiles, bombs and bullets will be flying. And it won”t stop until Chinese troops reach Tokyo and remove the militant government there and dismantling its “Self Defence Forces”.

    If Washington – “the butcher of planet Earth” – wish to also get unnecessarily involved, they are welcome to. This time blood will be split on the soil of Amerika. Tons of blood when nuclear tipped rockets start flying your way. Just wait for the firestorms, tsunamis and earthquakes and volcanos to devastate “your” land. There will be no more Amerika, save for those living underground.

    The Philippines itself is being used as a “high ground” by the Amerikans.

    So, Filipinos, can you think? Still want to be greedy and childish? Don’t try to be smart. You have a smart leader. Don’t let him be undercut by the ambitious, corrupt, short sighted thugs in your midst masquerading as politicians and high ranking officials.

    Like


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