Saturday, March 18, 2017

China building on Scarborough Shoal - First Challenge to Trump?

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, blocking 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 Chinese officials said China plans to begin building 'environmental monitoring stations' on many of the islands it controls in the area, including Scarborough Shoal. It is feared that China will impose an air defense zone and control the whole South China Sea if it builds a radar station at the Scarborough Shoal.
Scarborough Shoal is a resource-rich rocky outcrop 124 nautical miles off Palawan’s northwestern coast. A radar station on Scarborough Shoal will immediately complete China's radar coverage of the entire South China Sea. China can then impose an ADIZ or air defense identification zone, cementing it's claims over the area.

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration delivered a sweeping victory to the Philippines on its case against China and invalidated Beijing's massive and historical claims on nearly the entire South China Sea. China has refused to recognize the ruling.