Fighter and bomber planes launched from reefs that China reportedly equipped with missile systems and military facilities have within their range not just the entire Philippines but nearby countries as well.
According to Chino Gaston's report on "24 Oras", the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said aircraft from Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs may also reach Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
They also have within range Taiwan and the Java Sea.
Anti-ship cruise missiles launched from the the same allegedly armed reefs closest to the Philippine archipelago may reach the entire Palawan and parts of the Sulu Sea and even Malaysia.
The said type of missiles were reportedly tested by the Chinese a few days back.
Surface-to-air missiles from the three reefs, on the other hand, will just fall a bit short of Palawan.
Maritime security expert Professor Jay Batongbacal said the recent missile tests showed China's intentions in building artificial islands in the South China Sea, including those inside the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
"This basically just proves that they are operational and that they are used for that purpose," Batongbacal said.
"It's the range that is more important right now. It's just they are just avoiding certain areas but clearly these other areas are within their reach," he added.
The military's Western Command said that it had yet to monitor any missile test in the West Philippine Sea.
China has yet to come out with an official statement on its supposed missile tests in the South China Sea, but China's Foreign Ministry said it's actually the US' aircraft carriers deployed to the South China Sea that are causing tension within the disputed territories.
US Ambassador Sung Kim has reiterated the US position that China should refrain from conducting missile testing in the South China Sea. —MDM/NB, GMA News