THITU ISLAND, South China Sea: The Philippines said on Friday it was establishing a coast guard station on the largest island it holds in the disputed South China Sea, to improve monitoring of Chinese vessels asserting Beijing´s claims in the waters.
National Security Adviser Eduardo Ano made the announcement during a visit to the Philippine-held Thitu Island, which is part of the hotly contested Spratly Islands. The coast guard station would be equipped with “advanced systems”, including radar, satellite communication, coastal cameras and vessel traffic management, Ano said.
The station has been built and is expected to be operational early next year. “These systems will greatly enhance the PCG´s ability to monitor the movements of the Chinese maritime forces, other countries that might be coming here, and also as well as our own public vessels and aircraft,” Ano said, referring to the Philippine Coast Guard.
The collection of real-time data would have “an impact on the behaviour” of rival claimants, especially the Chinese, Ano said, hailing it as a “game changer”.