Chinese officials on 7 April 2013 announced that sightseeing cruises to Sansha, the newest city of China located on the disputed Paracel Islands in South China Sea will begin later in April 2013. The act to start the sightseeing cruises to Sansha will increase the dispute over sovereignty claims to disputed Paracel Islands.
The Islands are called Xisha in China and Paracels everywhere else in the world. The Paracel Islands are disputed over sovereignty claims by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. It is important to note that China claimed sovereignty over around complete South China Sea. These claims were strongly countered by Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.
The announcement of sightseeing cruises to Sansha was done from Hainan, the headquarters of China's South China Sea naval fleet.
The tourists going for Sansha sightseeing through cruises will eat as well as sleep on the cruise itself because of inadequacy of accommodation facilities. The shipbuilder Haihang Group Corp Ltd declared that the cruise ship was prepared for taking around 2000 passengers on this tour to Islands. Second cruise ship is under construction by Hainan Harbor and Shipping Holdings Co.
About Sansha City
• Sansha is the newest Chinese city which was established in July 2012. Sansha was established for administering over 200 islands, reefs as well as sandbanks in South China Sea.
• The territory within 800000 square miles of waters under the control of Sansha is disputed.
• South China Sea also houses crucial shipping lanes along with substantial oil and gas deposits.
• The Government of Sansha is situated on Yongxing (Woody) Island in the Paracels.
Paracel Islands Dispute
The Paracel Islands are also known as Xisha in China and Hoàng Sa Islands in Vietnamese. These are the group of islands where sovereignty is disputed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. All the islands at present are under Chinese administration, which in July 2012 also established the new Sansha City.
It is important to note that the forces of China and Vietnam occupied the parts of these Islands before 1974. In 1974, Battle of the Paracel Islands took place, after which China took the control of the Paracel Islands.