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Spratly Islands military occupations map
Mischief Reef, also known as: Meiji Reef; Chinese: 美济礁; pinyin: Meiji Jiao; Tagalog: Panganiban reef; Vietnamese: Đá Vành Khăn and others, is a large[vague] reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, located 250 kilometers west of the coast of Palawan.
History and topography
One source says that Mischief reef was discovered by Henry Spratly in 1791 and was named after the German sailor Heribert Mischief, one of his crew.[dubious ] It has rocks above water at low tide and a lagoon.
Location and Description
In 1994 and 1995, the PRC built initial structures on stilts while the Philippine Navy was not patrolling the area due to the monsoon season. Since the reef is 130 miles (209 km) from Palawan, the Philippine government immediately protested this action. However, the Chinese government rejected the protest and said that the structures were shelter for fishermen. In 1999, another wave of protests from Manila occurred when China added more structures to Mischief Reef which resembled military installations more closely than shelters for fishermen.
The Philippines alleged China's actions in South China Sea were part of a "creeping invasion." For instance, China was also reported to have planted buoys in Sabina Shoal, which is 70 miles (113 km) away from Palawan. Philippines claimed that China had a well-rehearsed routine when laying claim to a new reef: first put down buoys, then build concrete markers. Temporary wooden or bamboo shelters followed, and if China was still not challenged, the permanent military forts went up. The Philippines tries to destroy the buoys or markers before China has time to build larger structures.
The Philippines' decision not to destroy the Chinese structures on Mischief Reef prevented an escalation of the dispute. The Philippines claims that China has always been prepared for armed conflict when opposed, as is evident in China's defense of reefs from Vietnam in the 1988 Johnson South Reef Skirmish which resulted in more than 70 Vietnamese deaths. The Philippines decided not to attack since it could have led the two countries into a war, the consequences of which could have escalated into a wider conflict.
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