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The hotly-contested shoal in the West Philippine Seas, the Scarborough Shoal which is located 230 kilomerts off the Philippine coast is the place where China plans to construct an outpost according to a report posted by a Hong Kong media on Monday.

Panatag Shoal

China plans to construct an outpost within the Philippines’ claimed exclusive economic zone this year as the powerful nation seeks to project its power in the disputed waters. Based upon the report of South China Morning Post, the People’s Liberation Army revealed their plans to Chinese media.

The controversial Scarborough Shoal was claimed by China before the year 2012 when China took effective control by stationing patrol vessels in the area and shooing away Filipino fishermen in the area who frequently came there even before the days when the Chinese asserts its control in the traditional fishing grounds of Filipino fishermen.

According to a revelations made by the source to South China Morning Post (SCMP), the outpost of China would allow Beijing to “further perfect” its air coverage across South China Sea, suggesting its plans to build an airstrip. The report of the latest plans of China came ahead of the International Tribunal Ruling, expected to be release within months, on a case brought by the Philippines over the South China Sea.

The SCMP report came after an announcement released by the United States and the Philippines that they would launch joint naval patrols in the hotly contested waters of the West Philippine Sea.

Washington already revealed to international media that they sailed ships close to islands claimed by Beijing, accusing China of militarizing the South China Sea and deploying missiles in the area.

Aside from the Philippines and China, neighboring countries of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunie and Taiwan have claims to parts of the sea, which are home to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and believed to sit atop vast oil reserves.

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