Reuters: Phlippines Quietly Reinforcing and Repair Ground Ship
In an exclusive news report published by Reuters on
The report says the Philippines navy used wooden fishing boats and other small craft to move cement, steel, cabling and welding equipment to the BRP Sierra Madre since late last year. The news says two naval officers who have been inside the ship and declined to be indentified revealed the information, witnessed that the repair work has been onging since early 2015, and said the work should finish in end of 2015.
Kyodo News: Philippines to build helipad on stranded ship on Second Thomas Shoal
On 14 July 2015 (Tuesday), a news report orignated from Kyodo News said the according to official sources (an official who declined to be named), the Philippines military plans to build helicopter pad on the stranded naval ship on Second Thomas Shoal. The news said the blockage by the Chinease Coastguard Ship in 2014 was the first time in 15 years since the Filipino navy ship run aground there. It also reported that Philippine officials said the ship was placed in the shoal "to serve as a permanent Philippine government installation in response to China's illegal occupation of Mischief Reef in 1995."
China Foreign Affairs Ministry Protests and Urges the Philippines to Remove the Ship
On 15 July 2015 (Wednesday), China's foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said China hereby strongly protests and firmly opposes to the Philippines’ reinforcement of a military vessel illegally “grounded” on the Ren’ai Jiao. She said the Philippines promised to tow away the illegally “grounded” vessel on many occasions, yet on the other hand, it schemes to permanently occupy the Ren’ai Jiao by reinforcing the vessel. The Philippines’ breach of its own promise to the international community discloses its hypocrisy and duplicity, and stands as another example that the Philippines is the real trouble-maker and rule-breaker in the region. Hua Chunying said China once again urges the Philippines to immediately stop all illegal activities that infringe upon China’s sovereignty and maritime rights, and honor its commitment of towing away the vessel. China reserves the right to take further actions.
Philippines Department of National Defense accused China "twisting the truth", and denied helipad plan
On 16 July 2015 (Thursday), the Philippine Star reported that the National Defense Department of the Philippines threw out another playing victim line by implying that China is "a giant who is taking away the fish of a small child)". In the same time, Armed Forces Western Command chief Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez said “(It’s) not true and there are no plans whatsoever,” when asked to react to the report of helicopter pad.
Philippines Reopens Subic Bay Military Base, to station fighter jets and frigates
On its Thursday 16 July 2015 01.30 BST news report, The Guardian reported that the Philippines will station new fighter jets and two frigates as it reopens the former US naval base in Subic Bay to military use in a further response to Chinese expansionism in the disputed South China Sea.