Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chinese civilians on PH-claimed Fiery Cross Reef are ‘wives, kids of China’s troops in Spratlys’

Chinese civilians on 

PH-claimed Fiery Cross Reef 

are ‘wives, kids of 

China’s troops in Spratlys’

South China Sea
This combination photo of satellite images taken on Feb. 6, 2015, top, and March 23, 2015, bottom, by Airbus Defence and Space, and distributed by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, shows what IHS Jane’s describes as an airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef in a disputed section of the South China Sea. AP FILE PHOTO
MANILA — China has allowed its first batch of civilians to visit its artificial island atop the Philippine-claimed Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands.
According to Chinese online media Sina news, China on January 15 flew its first visitors to the newly built airport on the island, which the Chinese have been calling “Yongshu island.”
The man-made island’s first visitors were reported to be wives and children of soldiers and officers garrisoned on the island.

A series of photos posted on the news website showed the plane of the civilians landing in the airports and the civilians gleefully welcomed by the Chinese soldiers.
Sought for his comment, Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said, that as of Tuesday, the Philippine authorities were “still studying the case.”
The report came two weeks after China announced it has successfully landed test flights on the 3,125-meter-long runway of the airstrip on the artificial island it had built on Kagitingan Reef, one of the marine features within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
This sparked anger and worries among the other claimants of the South China Sea.
Both the Philippines and Vietnam filed their respective diplomatic protests against China’s recent activities.
Jose, in an interview earlier, said the recent test flights conducted by China were “provocative actions restricting the freedom of navigation and overflight in the West Philippine Sea.”
The West Philippine Sea refers to the waters within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea.  SFM