China sees the South China Sea as their own backyard. Beijing denies that they are making their presence strongly felt in the region. The Philippines has filed protests against Chinese sightings in the South China Sea. The Philippines Armed Forces sighted a Chinese Marine Survelliance vessle and other ships of the People’s Liberation Army Navy in the area.
The Philippines says Amy Douglas Bank, which is located southwest of Recto Reed Bank and east of Patag Island, is well within the Philippines’ 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone. No structures are in the said contested banks, and is unoccupied.
The Chinese, according to ABS-CBN news reportedly dropped building materials in the region.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario says “Chinese construction in the vicinity of Amy Doublas Bank is a “clear violation of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”.
The Spratly Islands is a group of 750 reefs, iatools, cays, and islands in the South China Sea that is less than four square kilometers of land area, but spread over 425,000 square kilometers of sea. Its ownership is being contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
Taiwan keeps 600 troops on Itu Aba island, which is the biggest island in the area. The United States sees the area as vital to its national interest, and China sees this as antagonizing.
The Philippines also has a standing mutual defense treaty with the United States.
Map credit: Wikipedia, public domain.