CHINA is the number one destroyer in the West Philippine Sea.
This is according to marine biologist Dr. Kent Carpenter of US-based Old Dominion University during a briefing in the House of Representatives spearheaded by a special committee on WPS.
Carpenter said the continued island-building and fishing activities of China are
responsible for most of the destruction in the disputed waters.
He added that while the other countries also contribute to the destruction of the WPS, China is the biggest threat.
“If you look at the total damage that’s done so far, China is not the only country that has building activity on these islands on these reef flats on the West Philippine Sea. Vietnam does, the Philippines does, and Malaysia also has some activity out here,” Carpenter said.
“But the bulk of the damage is being done by the People’s Republic of China, as 14 square kilometers (sq. km) were destroyed by (its) island-building activities,” he added.
The American biologist said about 104 sq. km of reefs in the disputed waters were destroyed by China’s activities.
His study showed that Beijing’s activities in the West Philippine Sea slowed down in 2016, when the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague upheld Manila’s sovereign rights to its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), rejecting Beijing’s historic claim to resources in the South China Sea using its nine-dash line doctrine.
“After the court ruling, there was actually some push-off by (Beijing). After the tribunal came down and judged against them, there appeared to be some reluctance for them to continue their destructive methods,” Carpenter said.