It appears that China, emboldened by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s kowtowing to China, is once again planning to invade the Philippines island of Pagasa.
China’s plans to invade Pagasa, known as Zhongye by the Chinese, were first revealed in a world exclusive by China Daily Mail in January 2014.
This led to representations by the Philippines government to the Chinese government, who at first denied any plans to invade.
Presented with overwhelming evidence that they were lying, the Chinese government finally admitted that they were pklanning to invade the island, but stated they were justified because they claim the island belongs to them.
As a result of China’s plans, the United States Navy asserted that they would abide by their mutual defence treaty with Philippines, meaning that they would expel Chinese troops from the island if they invaded.
Faced with inevitable defeat by the Americans, China dropped their plans to invade.
However, in August 2017, it was reported that two Chinese law enforcement ships and nine Chinese “maritime militia” vessels were sailing close to Pagasa, presumably to test the waters for a future invasion.
China has armed it’s fishing fleet in the South China Sea, and provided them with military training.
There were no protests from Manila about China’s incursion into Philippines territory.
Now, following a humiliating backdown on autobile tariffs for United States vehicles due to US President Donald Trump’s planned trade war, the Chinese government seeks to incite nationalism at home.
Inciting nationalism is the main tool the Chinese government has to give itself legitimacy to continue ruling.
In this case, Pagasa is seen as an easy target, due to President Duterte’s submission to the Chinese government.
By reclaiming territory considered stolen from the Chinese, the Chinese government can appear powerful to the Chinese people.
It appears now is the time for an invasion of Pagasa to achieve that goal.