Tensions between two countries seems to be rapidly escalating just weeks before The Hague is expected to rule in favor of the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China. As of the moment, China is further enhancing its claim on the Scarborough Shoal as it routinely sends fishermen to the area. This time, however, these men are not there to fish. Rather, China’s fishermen are now serving as their country’s very own militia who have been armed to fight.
The main goal is to defend the territory no matter what. Even when the dispute has already been brought to the attention of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, China hasn’t ceased with any of its activities in the Scarborough Shoal.
Early on, Morning News USA has uncovered reports that Pyongyang had, in fact, already built another island on top of it. In response to China’s aggressiveness, the U.S. has committed to increasing its military presence in the Philippines to support its ally.
Today, a new report reveals that China has turned its own fishermen into its maritime militia. These men hail from Hainan Island, a Chinese province that faces the disputed islands and more importantly, the island of Luzon in the Philippines where the country’s capital is located.
According to ABC in Australia, Chinese fishermen are paid around $20,000 for each trip where they are sent to disputed islands about four times a year. One fisherman also revealed that their next mission is to occupy the Scarborough Shoal and build islands on it.
This territory is critical to the Chinese if they want to gain complete control of the South China Sea. For this mission, the Chinese government is said to be training crews for as much as 100 ships.
Meanwhile, The Hague is expected to come out with a ruling regarding the Philippine-China dispute in the South China Sea in the coming weeks.
Deputy Director of China’s National Institute for the South China Sea, however, has said that China could care less. She remarked, “China’s position is very consistent and firm and they will not accept or participate in the arbitration case.”
According to The Hague, the Philippines had served China with a Notification and Statement of Claim “with respect to the dispute with China over the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea” back in January 22, 2013.
In response, China sent the Philippines a diplomatic note the following month that is described as “the Position of China on the South China Sea issues.”
China had also rejected and returned the Philippines’ notification.
Meanwhile, China’s Director General of the foreign ministry’s Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs Ouyang Yujing has also warned that China would be forced to fight back if provoked. According to the South China Morning Post, the director general remarked, “If [criticisms] are aimed at putting pressure on China or blackening its name, then you can view it like a spring, which has an applied force and a counterforce.
The more the pressure, the greater the reaction.”