The Chinese Communist Party continued to expand its illegal construction on Philippine territory in the South China Sea throughout the coronavirus pandemic, satellite images published this week indicated.
China claims the entirety of the South China Sea, including territory legally belonging to the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Beijing also claims waters off the coast of Indonesia, infuriating Jakarta. A 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague found China’s claims to the territory, which the Communist Party argues are based on “ancient” ownership, were not legal, nor was any Chinese presence in regions legally belonging to other countries.
China has spent years building artificial islands, now equipped with military assets, in the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which legally belong to Vietnam and the Philippines. Chinese ships have also repeatedly harassed, and in some cases, sank, ships from both countries present in their domestic waters. Neither