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Expert: The Philippines protests China's establishment of the Yongshu Jiao Administrative Center. China will ignore it with its strength

Expert: The Philippines protests China's establishment of the Yongshu Jiao Administrative Center. China will ignore it with its strength

China is expected to ignore the Philippines ’protests about China ’s establishment of an“ administrative center ”in the disputed waters because Manila does not have any follow-up measures. However, the voice of the Philippines ’protests will cause Beijing to find legal ways to control the most disputed waters in Asia.

The Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on April 30 that it refused to accept China's "illegal practice" of establishing an "administrative center" on Yongshu Jiao. Chinese officials have cited historical records to support their sovereignty claims on islands and reefs in the waters of the Yongshu Reef in the South China Sea.

Observers in the South China Sea said China would ignore the Philippines ’protests because the Philippines does not have military strength or diplomatic means to provide strong support for its protests.

Eduardo Araral, associate professor at the National University of Singapore ’s Li Guangyao School of Public Policy, said: that China can do whatever it wants. The Philippines will protest and things will continue like this.” He said: “But now, the only thing the Philippines can do Is a protest. 

Yongshu Jiao is an artificial island with an area of   274 hectares. It has an airstrip and can receive flights from mainland China. It is one of the three major islands in the Spratly Islands controlled by Beijing (called Nansha Islands in China) . The Philippines controls 10 islands in this archipelago. This water area has fisheries and energy reserves.

China claims to have about 90% of the waters in the 3.5 million square kilometers of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam all claim sovereignty over parts of the South China Sea. Before 2017, China began reclamation on the islands and reefs such as Yongshu Jiao to strengthen its military and civilian presence there.

China has the most powerful army and the largest budget in this region, and it surpasses all other claimants in the transformation of the island.

Since Duterte became the Philippine President in 2016, the Philippine government has rarely publicly protested to Beijing over sovereignty disputes. The capitals of the two countries are trying to improve bilateral relations.

In 2013, Duterte ’s predecessor sued China for the South China Sea sovereignty dispute to the Hague International Court of Justice. Three years later, the Hague Court ruled that it denied China ’s sovereign position on the South China Sea. Beijing refused to accept this ruling.

Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Philippine Institute of Political and Electoral Reform, based in Manila, said that the Philippines received medical assistance from China in the fight against the epidemic, and it is now more impossible to protest to China. He said that People are really busy with the virus pandemic.

The recent protests are seen as a record of the Philippines ’opposition to China ’s practices. Beijing did so to establish a more legitimate authority in the Spratly Islands. The International Court of Justice sometimes regards the evidence of effective use of (islands) as the basis for a country to have rights to a certain piece of land or a certain sea area.

Hu Yishan, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Affairs of Singapore, said: "Legally, you need to express your dissatisfaction, your protest, etc. through formal channels." "If you don't do this, you will be considered as acquiescing other claimants the behavior of."

According to the website of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China, two ministries in China have renamed 25 islands and 55 reefs below the sea in disputed waters from Hong Kong to Borneo.

Manila protested that Yongshu Jiao is "an inseparable part of the Philippine territory" and it belongs to the Karayan Islands controlled by the Philippines. The Philippines urges China to "abide by international law."

Stephen Nagy, senior associate professor of politics and international relations at Tokyo International Christian University, said China may call Yongshu Jiao an administrative region and formalize its control over the island reef. Chinese officials will eventually modify their maps to reflect these new changes.

Najib said that For Filipinos, what they have to do is to expose China's control illegally by proposing legal reasons or proposing that they exercise administrative control over this island and reef, that is, the legal basis for sovereignty.

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