• Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana takes part in an interview with AFP in Manila.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana takes part in an interview with AFP in Manila. (Photo : Getty Images)

Manila is expecting China to build a reef off the coast of the Philippines, the defense secretary of the country stated. He said that this would be "unacceptable" in the flashpoint waterway.

Delfin Lorenzana, the current Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, said in an interview that he believes that China would eventually reclaim Scarborough Shoal, just 230 kilometers from the main Philippine island of Luzon.

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Beijing has already built a number of reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands located in the South China Sea. It has installed military facilities on several of them.

Analysts say that if they do a similar installation near Scarborough Shoal, this will give China an effective military control over the disputed sea. If they build a military outpost there, it will be the last major physical step required to secure control of the sea.

The military outpost will put Chinese fighter jets and missile within easy striking distance to the Philippines.

"If we allow them, they will build. That's very, very disturbing. Very much (more) disturbing than Fiery Cross because this is so close to us," Lorenzana added as he refers to one of the reefs China has built on and claimed their own.

An arbitration that is backed by the United Nations was ruled last year. It indicates that the so-called "nine-dash-line" declared by Beijing to claim most of the South China Sea has no legal basis. This happened under the government of the previous Philippine president, Benigno Aquino Jr.

His successor, Rodrigo Durterte, the current president of the Philippines, courted China and backed away from its close relationship with the United States.

The current administration of the United States said that it will push back against any Chinese attempt to bolster the control of the South China Sea.

Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State in the U.S., said: "The U.S. would block Chinese access to reclaimed islands, although analysts have pointed out that this would require a military blockade--an act of war."

Lorenzana commented that Tillerson's remark was "very troubling," as the Philippines might become a battleground if conflict broke out between China and the U.S.