- China to turn contested islands in the South China Sea into Maldives-style resorts
- It is a tactic to substantiate its claims on the strategic islands
- China claims most of the strategic isles in the South China Sea despite claims from Vietnam, South Korea and the Philippines
BEIJING- To substantiate its claims, China plans to turn some of the disputed islands in the South China Sea into Maldives-style resorts.
According to a top official, turning the waters and islands into a tourist spot would boost civilian presence especially that they have started trial tourist cruises to the South China Sea in 2013.
In an article posted in ABS-CBN, Sansha City mayor Xiao Jie said he hopes to see the area become a major tourist attraction comparable to the Maldives. Xiao added they will develop the areas without military presence and will accommodate a select number of tourists.
“It will be an orderly and gradual procedure,” he assured.
Xiao added there will be sea plane trips, island weddings, fishing, diving and wind surfing trips. The cruise, he said, will target what they call ‘patriotic’ holidaymakers.
Aside from developing sports activities in the area, regular flights to the southern Chinese island of Hainan and direct flights to Beijing are being considered to ease up tourism, as what an article published in The Guardian said. An estimated 30,000 tourists have since toured the contested islands since it opened for tourism in 2013.
However, foreigners interested would need to wait for further updates if they will be permitted to join the cruise as only Chinese nationals are allowed to go on tour in the islands at the moment.
It is also unclear if any of the Spratlys islands would be opened for public.
China claims most of the strategically important South China Sea despite claims from neighboring territories like Vietnam and South Korea, a published article in Yahoo stated.