China builds new facilities in West Philippine Sea while PH is busy with COVID-19

China built new facilities in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as the whole country focused on fighting pandemic COVID-19, which started in the Asian giant.

China recently launched two research stations on two of its large human-made islands in the West Philippine Sea — Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) and Zamora (Subi) Reef, news agency Xinhua reported on March 20.

The report said the facilities feature several laboratories for geology, ecology, and environments. They are under the Integrated Research Center for Islands and Reefs of the Academy Sciences (CAS).

These can support scientists in field investigation, sampling, and scientific research in the Spratlys, a volatile region crisscrossed by maritime territorial disputes.

“An integrated scientific research base on coral reef and deep-sea” has now been set up in the two research stations now in operation, plus a previously-established research center on Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, said a source quoted in the report.

The bases are envisioned as support facilities for “interdisciplinary research of oceanographers.”

Also read: Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines rejects arbitral ruling on South China Sea

China builds new facilities in West Philippine Sea while PH is busy with COVID-19

Moreover, the facilities are designed to “improve the in-situ observation and experimental capabilities on ecology, geology, environments, materials and marine energy utilization in the tropical marine environment,” the Xinhua report said.

“The research conditions and facilities will be further optimized for better support,” the report added.

The CAS planned to “promote innovation capability and the supply of public service products of marine science and technology to meet the needs of both China and other littoral countries around the South China Sea.”

On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued its ruling in favor of the Philippines concerning China’s claim to the South China Sea. PCA ruled that China has no “historical rights” using its nine-dash line map.

The case was also known as South China Sea Arbitration, wherein China refused to participate in the arbitration. It also refused to accept the decision up to now.