So, at least, says a report from Chinese media. Referenced in Filipino news reporting, the Chinese story indicates that China has “drawn up plans” to seize Pag-asa Island (or Thitu Island, which China calls Zhongye) sometime in 2014.
Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge notes that this report – and a Chinese caution to Manila not to “complicate the situation” – comes at the same time Japan has announced her plans to nationalize hundreds of tiny islands off her coasts and consolidate her maritime claims. (See my Quick Take on Japan from earlier today.)
The Chinese media report makes the specific claim that “the battle will be restricted to the South China Sea.”
The map presentation below is a reminder of how excessive China’s claims are in the South China Sea. The Philippines, meanwhile, has had the disputed island occupied since the 1970s. It has been improved with an airstrip, which is used regularly by Philippines air forces, and several dozen soldiers are stationed on it on a rotating basis year-round. Taiwan claims the island as well as the Philippines and China.