China has escalated a showdown with the Philippines along the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea by sending in more surveillance ships and fishing boats, Philippine military personnel tell the AFP. "They are just worsening the insult," the major in command of the region says. "They really want to test what a little country like the Philippines can do against a giant."
China now has four surveillance ships and 10 fishing boats parked off the disputed shoal, and the fishermen are loading up on giant clams and coral, despite Philippine protections on the area. The major says the two Philippine coast guard ships there are powerless to stop the fishing. A spokesman for President Benigno Aquino says he intends to resolve the situation diplomatically. "We do not wish to escalate any tensions right now," he said. The Philippines maintains that the shoal falls within a 200-nautical-mile area it has exclusive rights to, while China believes its claim over the South China Sea extends right up to the Philippines' coast.
It's clear that the Scarborough Shoal belongs to The Philippines. China would make some stupid argument about how they own the Paracels, and since they own the Paracels, their maritime boundaries extend 200 miles from there according to international law. Even if that were true, I think the claims of the main islands of the Philippines negates that. I'm not saying that's a legal argument, but common sense and obvious justice. So basically China is just fishing waters of another country because it knows it has the muscle to get away with it. Even with the Philippines being backed by the US, China knows that the US will not fight with China over this fishing issue. China well knows our predicaments and they have a basic understanding for the mind of the US citizen, which is all they need.
I don't think it will go much farther than this. It does show China's hypocrisy though. For all of China's real victimization at the hands of Western and Japanese imperialists for centuries, when China has the power it resorts to...imperialism.