The Philippines and China are at odds as to which of the country has rights to Reed Bank, an 8,866 square-kilometer table mount 80 kilometers from the Philippine island of Palawan.
The Philippines is ready to let drilling restart there, after it has been halted two years ago when the disagreement had began publicly. China believes more than 90% of the sea including Reed Bank to be its own – despite the July 2016 arbitration verdict saying otherwise. Thusly, they would not appreciate the drilling from Philippines. Therein lies a question, will China allow the Philippines to continue drilling to sustain their friendship, which keeps China’s chief rival the United States at bay, or start an altercation. Strong push-back would risk letting the United States tighten its grip on the Philippines but consolidate Beijing’s ever-growing control of the sea over the objections of Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as the Philippines. Beijing’s claims overlap waters that each of the others calls its own.
Due to this new activity it is expected that the support China is passing on the Philippines would suddenly stopped flowing.
If there were any military action taken, it is expected from the Chinese government that the US would, “happily” get involved.