The Center for Strategic and International Studies-Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (CSIS-AMTI), through satellite imagery, has noted several minor upgrades in 3 Philippine-held islands and features of Kalayaan Group of Islands in West Philippine Sea.
This is in addition to the start of repair of airstrip and construction of new structures in Pag-asa Island.
“A new round-roofed shelter has been constructed on the eastern side of the small Philippine outpost on Commodore (Rizal) Reef, visible in imagery from May 1,” AMTI said.
“An empty field on Nanshan (Lawak) Island has been converted into a helipad as of February 20, 2018,” AMTI noted.
“On [Panata Island], a small sandbar, an additional hexagonal shelter has joined the modest outpost, visible in this image from May 17, 2018. The Philippines mostly administers [Panata Island] from nearby [Kota] Island to the southeast,” AMTI said.
“The Philippines’ other five Spratly outposts, at Loaita (Kota) Island, Northeast Cay (Parola), West York (Likas) Island, Flat (Patag) Island, and Second Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal (where the purposely grounded BRP Sierra Madre serves as a permanent facility) show no visible upgrades in the last year,” AMTI said.