There is a new identify in the South China Sea’s increasing checklist of flashpoints: Thitu Island. Even though nowhere in close proximity to the scale of Fiery Cross or Mischief Reefs, this island and bundle of reduced-lying sandbars off the Philippines coastline is just as substantial.
It is a affluent fishing location. And it is one more possible territorial marker in the hotly contested global waterway.
Now, China has bodily staked its declare more than the sandbars that encompass it.
Filipino fishermen say they are becoming pushed absent from their regular fishing grounds, by Chinese boats.
LINE IN THE SAND
The waters in between Thitu Island and Subi Reef, equally of which are in close proximity to the northwestern Philippines, have prolonged been claimed as component of its territorial waters.
But, considering that 2015, China basically took more than Subi Reef and employed land-reclamation engineering to flip it into an tremendous naval and air drive fortress.
Beijing has not too long ago staked a declare to practically the complete South China Sea, even even though it extends considerably to the south and east of the mainland. It involves waters claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Now the Chinese Communist Party’s fishing ‘militia’ is pushing out its boundaries.
Mayor Roberto del Mundo of Kalayaan, a Philippines Palawan city which administers Thitu Island, has told Inquirer.net that his fishermen are being elbowed out.
Thitu Island by itself is house to a Philippines slipway, jetty, runway and anchorage. But fishermen trying to run from there are becoming turned again as before long as they tactic the closest sandbar just 3km off the island’s coastline.