Island Takeovers

In March 2021, China provoked the Philippines, threatening to take over Whitsun Reef. Two hundred and twenty ships amassed outside of the reef ready to take the Philippine island.

China claims the right to 90 percent of the South China Sea. China turned seven of these islands into military bases – some in waters that the International Court of Justice determined do not belong to them. In 2012, China reneged on an agreement made between US and Chinese officials to back off Scarborough Shoal. The Philippine vessels left but China stepped in and took control of the Philippine island.

Since that time the Chinese Coast Guard has used water cannons to fire on Philippine fishing boats and steal their fish in the waters off the Philippine coast. The Philippines took China to the International Court of Justice in the case Philippines v China. The July 2016 ruling determined that China did not have the right to claim Scarborough Shoal and that the island, the size of Miami, Florida, belonged to The Philippines based upon the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. China ignored the ruling and continues to claim the island.

In 2020, during the pandemic, China’s provocative actions including sinking ships, threatening fishermen, preventing other country’s oil exploration, and instituting laws around the South China Sea islands. Fast forward to March 2021, China has now moved hundreds of its vessels into Philippine territory and is threatening to take over another one of the Philippines’ islands. Outside of Whitsun Reef, dozens of Chinese paramilitary navy ships are tied together. They are not fishing, they are just sitting in position outside of the reef waiting for their orders.

As if to say, “What are you going to do about it?” China is provoking action as it amassed its paramilitary off the Philippine coast. Officials in Manila call it a provocative act against Philippine sovereignty. Western allies have called for China to withdraw from the area in the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

For more background and timelines on China’s aggression against the Philippines, you are invited to read the image-packed book available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and our website,

Published by Dr. Rachel Winston

Professor, author, motivational speaker, college expert with 12 undergrad/graduate degrees

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