SC’s Carpio warns vs China station on Scarborough

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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SC’s Carpio warns vs China station on Scarborough
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio says that China's planned environmental monitoring station is a radar station that will enable it to enforce an air defense identification zone in the South China Sea

MANILA, Philippines – Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Philippine Supreme Court warned against China’s reported plan to install an environmental monitoring station on the disputed Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal).

Carpio also sounded the alarm on China using military installations to claim the disputed South China Sea, parts of which the Philippines calls the West Philippine Sea. Panatag Shoal is located in these disputed waters. 

“These developments call for a national debate, and consensus, on how the nation should proceed with its bilateral relations with China,” Carpio said in a statement.

The justice noted that China’s planned environmental monitoring station, which news agencies reported about on Friday, March 17, is a radar station.  

He said that with a radar station like this, China can impose an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea, where Panatag Shoal is located.

An ADIZ will likely require planes to seek China’s permission before flying over the South China Sea.

Carpio added that China “will use its HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles to enforce the ADIZ.” 

‘Grabbing’ Philippine waters

In an article on Deutsche Welle, analyst Neil Ashdown explained that the HQ-9 “is a 4th-generation surface-to-air missile system.” 

If already on a South China Sea island, “then this would be the most advanced long-range air defense missile currently deployed to an island in the South China Sea,” Ashdown said. 

Carpio noted that China also just completed building “concrete hexagonal structures, with retractable roofs, to house HQ-9 missile batteries” on Subi Reef, Mischief Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

He said China will use these military installations to enforce its 9-dash line, China’s demarcation to claim virtually the entire South China Sea, which a Hague tribunal declared illegal in July 2016. 

The 9-dash line encroaches on the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), where the Philippines has the exclusive rights to explore and exploit marine resources.  

Referring to China’s military installations, Carpio warned, “That means China will grab 80% of Philippine EEZ and 100% of Philippine extended continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea.” –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email