12 July 2017

News Story: Analyst - China diverting int'l pressure while completing facilities in disputed sea

By Patricia Lourdes Viray

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing appears to be engaging with Manila and other Southeast Asian governments to divert international pressure from the disputed South China Sea, a foreign policy analyst said.

A few weeks ago, Washington-based CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) released new satellite imagery that China has been continuing the construction of facilities in three Manila-claimed reefs in the Spratly Islands.

China appears to have installed new missile shelters, radar and communication facilities on Fire Cross Reef, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef despite starting direct negotiations with the Philippines last May.

Gregory Poling, director of the AMTI, said that the approach of the Duterte administration hasn't resulted in any slowdown in the construction of military facilities on the artificial islands.

"This suggests that Beijing wants to keep Manila and the other Southeast Asian governments talking, diverting international pressure, while it finishes its power projection capabilities without interference," Poling said in an exclusive interview with Philstar.com

Poling added that Beijing is determined to establish de facto control over all features within its so-called nine-dash line in the South China Sea.

Read the full story at PhilStar