China’s Secretive Maritime Militia May Be Gathering at Whitsun Reef
By Andrew S. Erickson
An obscure boomerang-shaped feature in the South China Sea may host the next phase of PRC maritime coercion. Since at least March 7, 2021, many dozens of large, blue-hulled PRC ships have been lashed together in Whitsun Reef’s lagoon. They have not been seen to do any fishing, but run powerful lights at night. Citing the presence of 220 China Maritime Militia (CMM) vessels, on March 21 Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana publicly demanded their departure from his nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Manila supplemented his statement with a diplomatic protest from Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
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