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People’s Daily: The Intentions of Philippine Military Officials’ Illegal Tour of the Spratly Islands

Wang Xiaopeng, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), wrote an article, which People’s Daily recently published, commenting on the Philippine’s armed forces chief of staff Kata Pang’s tour of the Spratly islands. Below is an excerpt from the article: 

“On May 11, the Philippine’s armed forces chief of staff, Kata Pang, entered the Philippines’ illegally occupied Thitu Island of China’s Spratly islands in the maritime area of China, along with many foreign media reporters who were stationed in the Philippines. During their island activities, Kata Pang also discussed the development of tourism and a marine resources program with the so-called ‘Kalayaan town mayor.’ [Kalayaan town is a municipality in the Philippine’ province of Palawan in the Spratly islands]. Staging a landing force at this point shows that the Philippine military official harbors three ulterior motives.” 
“The first is to solidify the illegal presence of the Philippines in the Spratly Islands by means of internationalization. This will achieve the Philippine military strategy of transformation of a counterinsurgency in the south to control the sea in the west.” 
“The second is, with the backing of the United States, to play a self-fulfilling game by having more follow-up actions after the end of the U.S.-Philippine military exercises. To further achieve military allocation of its ‘Asia-Pacific rebalancing’ strategy, the United States actually is building an ‘East – South China Sea dispute chain.’ The Philippines is an important chess piece in the chain. On the premise of ‘fighting without breaking,’ the United States needs the Philippines to use as a continual provocation in the South China Sea dispute. That way, the South China Sea remains in a ‘controversial state,’ in order to distract China’s strategic attention at all times.” 
“The third is to cheer Japan, encouraging Japan to move from its current, tentative involvement [in the dispute] into a more permanent intervention.” 

Source: People’s Daily, May 12, 2015