Manila (AdChoiceTV News) — While Chinese militia ships swarm Julian Felipe Reef, Beijing continues its construction on Subi Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
Satellite images released by US-based Simularity showed significant construction activity by China on Subi Reef, located just 13 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island, between November 2020 and March 2021.
The report noted that most of the changes observed in the concerned areas are mostly land-related reshaping or reconfiguration.
“The volume of changes is significant, and may indicate the early phases of major construction on Subi Reef,” Simularity said.
While the observable land-related changes are not easily characterized for now, the report said the changes are possibly for construction preparation, agriculture preparation, possible island repair or land reinforcement and significant movement of materials and supplies.
Simularity released photos dated Nov. 6, 2020 and March 7, 2021 to compare the changes in different sites on Subi Reef, one of China’s artificial island in the West Philippine Sea.
It also noted that approximately 2,244 shipping containers were removed from Subi Reef, indicating significant movement of materials and supplies.
Coincidentally, the Philippine government recently confirmed a report that 220 Chinese maritime militia ships were seen moored in the vicinity of Julian Felipe Reef on March 7.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. fired a diplomatic protest on Sunday night after the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea released the report on Julian Felipe Reef, which is about 175 nautical miles from Bataraza, Palawan.
On March 22, the Armed Forces of the Philippines confirmed that at least 183 Chinese vessels were still in the area.
While the Chinese Embassy in Manila insists that the boats were just “fishing vessels taking shelter,” the Philippine government demanded that Beijing promptly withdraw its fishing vessels and maritime assets in the vicinity.
“We reiterate that the continued deployment, lingering presence and activities of Chinese vessels in Philippine maritime zones blatantly infringe upon Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” the DFA said in a statement released March 23.
Reporting by Albert Rovic Tan