Golez: China structure on disputed shoal to be ‘a danger to security’
Former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez on Tuesday said that if China succeeds with converting Scarborough Shoal into a military facility, it would be a “clear and present danger to the Philippines and its allies’ security.”
“Imagine, Scarborough shoal is very close to mainland, it is very close to vital and economic military installations like Subic, Clark, Basa airbase, Metro Manila, Villamor airbase, and Calabarzon, that’s very close,” Golez said in a chance interview at Manila Hotel.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the United States has stopped China from building on the disputed shoal.
China has built artificial islands in the disputed waters, which has been a source of tension with the US and neighboring countries. This is despite the international tribunal in July that rejected China’s massive claims to the South China Sea.
“I saw their masterplan for Scarborough shoal — their masterplan is not only for environmental monitoring station, but also a runway, making it a harbor, a naval harbor, some buildings there for civilian purposes but also for military purposes,” Golez said.
“Scarborough shoal is a big feature — the area of the navigable lagoon there is about 150 square kilometers so almost the size of Quezon City, bigger than Manila,” he added.
Located 230 kilometers off the coast of Zambales, well within the 370-km exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines known as West Philippine Sea, Scarborough or Panatag Shoal is at the heart of a territorial dispute between the two countries.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he trusted China would not build anything on Panatag Shoal because he was given its “word of honor” and Beijing would not want to jeopardize a new friendship. JE
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