26 May 2018
The Philippines has started repairing a runway and upgrading other facilities on Thitu Island, the South China Sea territory that was last year the scene of a stand-off between Chinese and Philippine vessels, according to a Washington-based think tank.
Collin Koh, a research fellow with the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said the decision to proceed with the repairs and upgrades on Thitu might be a sign of the growing domestic pressure on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to stand up to Beijing.
“There have been numerous developments: the alleged stand-off between Chinese and Philippine forces at a sandbar close to the island … and China’s militarisation of the South China Sea, all of which have put great pressure on the Duterte administration,” he said.
“[It seems] they have fuelled calls from the Philippines’ political, military and civil circles to revive the refurbishment and upgrading project.”
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 31/05/2018