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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Will Chinese Troops Seize Zhongye Island from the Philippines?

Well, according to the China Daily Mail they will.

The following report is a translation from Chinese media. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily Mail. 
Relying on US support, the Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Zhongye Island, a Chinese island that it has illegally occupied for years. 
It will be an intolerable insult to China 
According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea. 
The battle is aimed at recovery of the island stolen by the Philippines from China.
There will be no invasion into Filipino territories. 
A report in the Philippines Star confirmed the Philippines military buildup on the island.

Well, if this is to be believed (and it reads as a translation of pretty typical Chinese propaganda chest-beating), China's hardliners are hoping for an easy military victory to buttress up their increasingly unpopular regime. Can you say "powder keg for Obama to completely ignore because he's intent on controlling your health insurance?"

Is this credible? Maybe. Obama has shown nothing but weakness and disinterest in the rest of the world-- especially with Asian allies. Perhaps China has plans to forcibly increase its influence in Asia, and this is a test run to see how the rest of Asia, the U.S. and other powers like Russia, respond. If so-- and all of this is a lot of ifs-- then China could be thinking of invading Taiwan. I have no doubts that Obama would allow that to happen.

You know... to allow for peace in our time.

UPDATE: I should note that when I ran a search for "Pagasa Island" (as Zhongye Island is known in the Philippines), on the major Philippine newspapers' websites, I came up with a couple of interesting articles.

There is, in fact, a military build up on the island according to a 12/4/13 article in Malaya Business Insight.

The government has allotted P479.75 million in upgrading Navy and Air Force facilities at the Pagasa Island, one of the nine areas occupied by Filipino troops in the Spratly Islands. 
The Department of National Defense said the project, which is at the Defense Acquisition of System level, aims to boost the implementation of the AFP modernization program. 
The project, which will go through public bidding, is funded by Republic Act 7898 or the AFP Modernization Law of 1995.  
On December 2012, President Aquino signed into law RA 10349 or the Revised AFP Modernization Law extending the program for another 15 years. 
A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the project seeks to upgrade the airstrip and improve Navy facilities at Pagasa Island, which serves as the seat of government of Kalayaan town, Palawan. 
The eight other areas in the Spratly Islands occupied by troops include Lawak Island, Panatag Shoal, Likas Island, Parola Island, Panata Island, Kota Island, Rizal Reef and Ayungin Shoal. These areas also form part of Kalayaan town. 
A military official said it was very important to improve the facilities “because that is our complete station in the Kalayaan Island Group.” He said upgrading facilities in the island will mean “better monitoring.” 
“Our awareness will be improved,” the source said, adding that the facilities in the island are only “basic requirements” to sustain the needs of troops in the island. 
The Spratly Islands or the Kalayaan Island Group is situated at the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. It is a chain of islands and islets believed to be rich in oil and mineral deposits. 
It is being claimed in part or in whole by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.  
The strongest in terms of military might, China, has turned aggressive in its claims over the past years.

I also found this article "2 Chinese ships spotted anew near disputed island" from The Daily Tribune from August 24, 2013.

Despite rough sea conditions in the South China Sea, at least two Chinese maritime surveillance ships (MSS) were monitored near Ayungin Shoal where Philippine Navy personnel are stationed. 
Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon said based on the latest information given to him by local fishermen who sought shelter in Ayungin Shoal around noontime last Monday, two Chinese MSS were spotted in the area. 
“Local fishermen sought shelter in Ayungin due to bad weather conditions and spotted two Chinese ships stationary about 200 meters from the shoal,” he added.  
But there was no aggressive move against the local fishermen, Bito-onon said.
According to him, three other unidentified “huge ships” were seen approximately five kilometers from Pagasa Island, the seat of Kalayaan local government. 
The three unidentified ships are suspected to be harvesting corals within the country’s territorial waters. 
Meanwhile, Bito-onon reiterated calls for the national government to fast-track the planned dock in Pagasa Island to boost local fishing industry in the area. 
A better fishing facility in Pagasa Island, Bito-onon said, will surely attract investment in the area, which is known to be a rich fishing ground. 
Chinese vessels have maintained presence in Ayungin Shoal since last May despite the presence of Philippine Navy personnel there.
These two articles certainly do not mean that the Chinese plan to invade the Philippines, but it is enough for me to not completely dismiss the idea. We'll have to pay attention to the Chinese propaganda and see if they start ramping up the anti-Philippine rhetoric. If they do, then I'd start to give this Chinese threat some serious thought.


  1. This siyuation is very bad for the philippines and China and will have an impact on the rest of the world . Maybe its time to Talk to China properly so at the very least avoid military conflict. Although China is a very powerful Nation im sure they would prefer a diplomatic solution

    1. The fact that China isn't wanting to negotiate right now makes me believe that the Chinese are not seriously considering a military action.

      However it is hard to say one way or another as Obama has made the U.S. one of the worst allies to have right now. Obama has proven again and agian that he will sell allies down the tubes so he won't be distracted by foreign affairs.

      If the U.S. gives up its allies in Asia, China will take full advantage.