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China Plans To Step Up Protection Of Islands

4/20/2012 5:53 AM ET

China has formulated a plan for stepped up protection and management of its islands and secure the country's maritime interests.

The plan announced by the State Oceanic Administration on Thursday designates islands and their surrounding waters as "strategically vital." It stresses the need to protect their environments and develop marine resources in an orderly manner.

The plan puts in a special category islands that serve as markers for territorial waters and those that are crucial for national defense. China will bolster the maintenance and protection of those islands by installing navigational aids and weather observation facilities, China's state media reported.

China will also put up signs on 6,000 islands by 2020 to display their names in Chinese. The plan makes no direct mention of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea which the Tokyo metropolitan government proposes to buy from their private owner. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara had said last week that he would go ahead with negotiations for purchase of the islands irrespective the stand being taken by the Japanese government.

But China also claims sovereignty over Senkaku Islands and the latest plan is believed to include them as part of the country's territory.

China has recently expanded its areas of activity in the East and South China Seas to secure its interests in these maritime regions.

by RTT Staff Writer

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