IF China turn Scarborough shoal into an artificial island then its game over for China, it will be a strategic blunder and right into a strategic trap the US has plan. All ASEAN will follow the US and see China as an enemy. Our constitution clearly stated that there will be no foreign bases allowed, That itself is clear indication. As one of our member once stated quit while your still ahead.
Inasmuch as "friendship" between China and the ASEAN is concerned, geopolitics dictate that national interests always trump other considerations.
China is a giant, while it does treat everyone else with respect and good manners, like Xi won't make Duterte sit in a small chair opposite him, a smaller country should also take care not to poke the dragon in the eyes and hope to get away with it with impunity. Once Phillipines makes the strategic blunder of inviting the US army to stage a base there, then all gloves are off between China and the PH. Scarborough Shoal will definitely be turned into a mighty fortress by China just like the other reefs and islands in the SCS.
China has the wherewithal and capability to accomplish the above in a few months time. Why do you think China hasn't done it already?
So just don't give China any excuse to start work there if I were the power that be in the PH.
Having said all these, I am convinced China genuinely would like to maintain a good relationship with the Phillipines and put your country under the BRI umbrella for mutual prosperity.
Just don't let Uncle Sam spoil the fun and prosperity for your country.
And SEA is basically controlled by Chinese businessmen. It's our backyard, be damned if nazi get their paws on it.
Hi CMFDan,Unless Philippine Gov permit the US to use it's territory (launch or transit) to attack other countries?