Friday, July 13, 2012

China installs powerful radar in reef near Palawan

MANILA, Philippines - Aside from Panganiban Reef (Mischief reef), China has installed another powerful radar in its occupied Subi Reef, an islet 12 nautical miles from Kalayaan municipality in Palawan province's Pag-Asa Island in the Spratly region, the mayor of the island town said Thursday.

Kalayaan town Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon said the silver colored dome radar is located atop a four-storey building which the Chinese have started to build six years ago at the reef southwest of Pag-Asa.

“While the radar could be only for weather monitoring and weather forecasting, one can also surmise that it can also monitor wide areas in the region of any moving and floating objects,” Bito-onon said.

At the other side of the building is a lighthouse that on calm waters Bito-onon said, which can be seen from Pag-Asa Island at night time.

Aside from Subi Reef, China has also constructed a military garrison in Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), an area only 70 nautical miles from Palawan.

Located within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Panganiban Reef, which located halfway towards the hotly-contested Spratlys Group of Islands, was occupied by China in 1994.

Despite a strong protest from the Philippines, China put up stilts and then transformed Panganiban Reef into a highly fortified military garrison equipped with powerful radars and other air and maritime monitoring equipment.

China is laying almost the entire West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which is also being claimed in whole or in part by Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, as an integral part of its maritime domain.

Jaime Laude | The Philippine Star | July 12, 2012 | Article Link

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