Will China militarize Panatag? Will missiles be aimed at Manila?
The map below shows the location of Panatag Shoal (also known as Scarborough Shoal), traditional Filipino fishing territory well within the 200 nautical mile Philippine EEZ. Chinese ships have been stationed there since an awkward confrontation in 2012 when China refused to abide by an agreement that both sides remove ships from the shoal. The Chinese Coast Guard is now harassing Filipino fishermen who have earned their living there for decades [“China flexes muscle in disputed waters”; Philstar].
The US reported just recently that there has been unusual ship activity in the area of Panatag, as if preliminary work were being done ahead of reclamation [“Exclusive: U.S. sees new Chinese activity around South China Sea shoal”; Reuters]. China has militarized other islands she has reclaimed.
Panatag shoal is 353 kilometers, or 191 nautical miles, from Manila.
My friends, that is very close. That is in the back yard. It is in the garden. Go out to the terrace of your condo and peer west northwest. It is right over there.
It would take a fast jet only 15 minutes to fly from Panatag to Manila.China has several supersonic cruise missiles that can do that, too. Some are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. [“List of missiles by country”; Wikipedia]
Are you getting my point here?
Does that not seem outrageously close, outrageously offensive to you, too? As if an armed thief were at the window, peering in?
Would militarization of Panatag cross the line and call for some action other than words? I’m not agitating for anything.
I’m just askin’. Getting a reading beyond my own warlike reaction.