Image via -AX-
China and Vietnam’s conflict over the Paracel Islands is about to get heated. After some poking and prodding with passport images, China is ready to pull out the big guns: its legions of tourists. The first tour ship to the islands set sail from China on Sunday, carrying a cargo of up to 100 eager sight-seers/international provocateurs. Apparently the Diaoyus pissing-match isn’t quite enough to whet China’s appetite for territorial disputes.
South China Morning Post reports:
A named commentary in the Global Times defended the decision to allow tourists to visit the islands, which are known as Xisha in China.
“China’s Xisha tourism has nothing to do with its neighbouring countries,” said Ju Hailong, a research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at Jinan University, in the southern city of Guangzhou.
“Those who want to manipulate China’s moves to make trouble are not admirers of international law and regional security.”
Officials earlier this month confirmed they would open up the Islands to tourism.[…]
Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia all have rival claims to parts of the South China Sea, while the United States is also watching Beijing’s increased assertiveness.
While Ju Hailong surely means “manipulate China’s moves in order to make trouble,” simply saying “China’s moves to make trouble” is probably more apt.