China would begin sending cruises with tourists to a chain of disputed islands in the South China Sea, state media Xinhua said.
The islands, known as Xisha in China, are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan. China has controlled these islands after a war with South Vietnam in 1974.
The world's second-largest economy is scheduled to let tourists visit these islands before the forthcoming May Day holiday, Xinhua said quoting Tan Li, executive vice governor of the southern-most province of Hainan.
The tourists will eat and live on the ships and they can go to the islands for sightseeing. The largest of these islands has one hotel with 56 rooms, but fresh water on the island is transported from outside.
A cruise ship that can accommodate 1,965 passengers is already said to be ready for sailing.
by RTT Staff Writer
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