More than 100 Filipinos live 15 miles from one of Beijing’s most ambitious island bases in the South China Sea

On the horizon, the azure sea water stops and the white, concrete structures of the Chinese military base rise up.

“Sometimes we get nervous because we are only civilians. If they invade the island, they can harm us. They can do whatever they want,” says Romeo Malaguit, a fisherman and father of two, who lives on the nearby Philippine-claimed island Thitu.

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