Philippine defense chief Delfin Lorenzana claimed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has clear intentions to occupy even more South China Sea areas. He cited the continued presence of Chinese militias that Manila authorities believe intends to take over the strategic waterway areas. Japan and Taiwan made similar allegations reinforcing the Philippine position.
“The continued presence of Chinese maritime militias in the area reveals their intention to occupy more (areas) in the West Philippine Sea,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement on April 4, using the local name for the South China Sea.
Reuters reported this was Lorenzana’s second statement in two days as he repeated the Philippines’ calls for Chinese ships to leave Whitsun Reef, which Manila calls Julian Felipe Reef, located within 200 miles of its territory.
The Chinese ships anchored near the reef number more than 200, and, according to CCP authorities, they were there to shelter from bad weather conditions due to the calm waters in that area.
However, Lorenzana scorned their statement saying: “I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no reason to stay there.”
Lorenzana went on to attack the actions of the CCP, saying that, “They have done this (occupy disputed areas) before in Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc and Panganiban Reef, blatantly violating Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights under international law.”
The CCP tried for years to seize by various means most of the territory in the South China Sea, until 2016, when a Hague tribunal ruled to reject the legal claims.
But the CCP took no notice of the ruling and has built several artificial islands in the disputed waters equipped with radars, missile batteries, and hangars for fighter jets.
Just a day after the Philippines’ serious allegations, a CCP aircraft carrier, and five escort vessels passed the South Sea coast off Japan on their way to the Pacific Ocean, the Japanese Defense Ministry’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Office said. It was seen as provocation from the CCP commanded by its head of state, Xi Jinping, the Japan Times reported.
Although the renowned aircraft carrier Liaoning did not enter Japanese territory, it did so unnecessarily at the nearest boundary, which ended up straining the increasingly deteriorating situation in the waters surrounding the eastern giant.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense reported on April 5, a new incursion by the CCP’s air force into the island’s air defense identification zone, consisting of eight fighter planes and two other aircraft, one of which flew over the strategic Bashi Channel.
Thus, within two days, at least three different countries have denounced the military outrages of the CCP in the region, in what seems to be a clear demonstration of power and intimidation of the international community by the CCP.