By Bill Gertz/The Washington Free Beacon
11 August 2016
China is building up maritime security forces around a key disputed island in the South China Sea that the Pentagon has warned China not to militarize.
According to Pentagon officials, the number of Chinese maritime security vessels near Scarborough Shoal, in the Spratly Islands, has risen sharply over the past several weeks.
For the past several years, China has limited the deployment of naval vessels at Scarborough Shoal to two or three maritime security ships that are similar to coast guard ships.
Over the past several weeks, however, the number of Chinese warships there has increased to more than a dozen, said officials familiar with intelligence reports.
Furthermore, China appears to be sending a large flotilla of hundreds of fishing vessels to Scarborough Shoal in an action similar to what is currently taking place in the East China Sea.
China has sent a total of 324 fishing vessels to waters around Japan’s Senkaku Islands, along with 13 maritime security ships. That fishing fleet deployment is based on China’s claim to sovereignty over the Senkakus, which Beijing calls the Diaoyu Islands.
Facts on the Ground and on the Waters: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/south-china-sea-facts-on-the-ground-and-on-the-waters/
Militarization and Construction in the South China Sea: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/events-and-analyses/militarization-and-construction-in-the-south-china-sea/