mandag 19. juni 2017

A place called 'hope': the tiny island on the frontline of US-China tensions

On the horizon, the azure sea water stops and the white, concrete structures of the Chinese military base rise up. “Sometimes we get nervous because we are only civilians. If they invade the island, they can harm us. They can do whatever they want,” says Romeo Malaguit, a fisherman and father of two, who lives on the nearby Philippine-claimed island Thitu.

Locally known as Pag-asa, meaning hope in Tagalog, Thitu is a tree-studded settlement no more than 1.5km long and 800 metres wide. A dilapidated runway takes up almost half the area. It sits within sight of Subi reef, part of one of Beijing’s most rapidly developing military projects – a series of controversial giant bases across the South China Sea.