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China to have regular cruises to Spratly Islands by 2020

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By People’s Daily

China’s southern island province of Hainan will run regular cruises to the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea by 2020, according to a local government paper on tourism.

MB FILE—Photographed through the window of a closed aircraft, an aerial view shows Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines on July 20, 2011. China protested a trip made by Filipino lawmakers to disputed areas in the South China Sea to assert the claim of the Philippines. Ethan Sun, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Manila, said the trip scheduled was 'against the spirit' of a code of conduct signed by claimants to the areas in 2002. The Spratlys, believed to be rich in oil, mineral and marine resources, are also claimed in whole or partly by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL

An aerial view of Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines. (Credits: EPA | Rolex dela Pena | Pool | Manila Bulletin file photo)

Hainan will improve the travel experience with new routes and ships, improve infrastructure and provide better travel packages.

Sansha City, on Yongxing, one of the Xisha Islands, was founded in July 2012. The city sees tourism as its main economic engine and administers three island groups — the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha — along with surrounding waters.

The first cruise to the Xisha Islands was in 2013, with two cruise since making the trip more than 100 times, carrying over 20,000 tourists.

Hainan is upgrading its ports and has plans for a pan-South China Sea cruise line covering countries along the Maritime Silk Road.

Nansha Islands are among the disputed groups of islands in the South China Sea. All of its 14 islands are occupied and claimed by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

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