BEIJING — Tropical islands in the South China Sea have become a major strategic headache between China and the United States. As tensions 1) escalate over China’s construction of military installations on 2) disputed islands, the United States Navy has sent extra 3) warships to the waterway. A Chinese fighter jet recently flew so close to an American surveillance plane that there was nearly a 4) collision.
Now, China appears to be taking a softer approach to its 5) claims.
Want a wedding on a remote island? Come to the Paracels, says Xiao Jie, who administers that group of islands. If you 6) crave diving and windsurfing, he adds, we have just the spot for you.
The Paracels, a 7)cluster of islands on the western edge of the South China Sea where Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims, are perfect for tourism, water sports and romantic weddings, Mr. Xiao told China Daily, a state-run English-language newspaper, in an article published Friday.
“We will develop some islands and 8) reefs 9) to accommodate a select number of tourists,” Mr. Xiao said.
As mayor of Sansha City on Woody Island, the biggest of the Paracels, Mr. Xiao 10) oversees a community of 1,500 residents complete with a school, a police station and a court. But the mayor also has 11) jurisdiction over other islands in the Paracel chain, as well as the Spratlys.
Some tourism has already started on three tiny islands in the Paracels, Mr. Xiao said.
A five-day cruise aboard a 10,000-ton boat that stops at those tiny flecks in the sea — Yinyu Island, Quanfu Island and Yagong Island — is now popular with couples who want tropical-themed wedding photographs but cannot afford Bali or Hawaii, said Liu Shibiao, an agent at Hainan Tourism International Travel Agency in Haikou, the capital of Hainan Province.
The three islands’ beaches are more 12) pristine than the 13) litter-strewn, overbuilt coastline of southern China, Mr. Liu said. “On the beaches, the seawater is much cleaner than in any other places in China, and they are very romantic,” he said. “It is cheaper than Hawaii and Bali.
“It also 14) bears a special meaning to get married here in Xisha,” he continued, using the Chinese name for the Paracels. “These are our lands.”
Under President Xi Jinping, China has been challenging America’s post-World War II dominance in the Western Pacific by 15) fortifying islands it claims in the South China Sea with weaponry, runways and deepwater 16) berths. Artificial islands in the Spratly chain, created by 17) dredging 18) massive amounts of sand onto tiny rocks, now have Chinese soldiers and construction workers 19) bustling about.
Surface-to-air missile batteries and powerful radar facilities have been installed on Woody Island, and tourism there is more limited. Tourists must fly in and fly out on the same day.
The cruises to the Paracels serve islands that do not have military installations, Mr. Xiao said. But there is a patriotic element to the tours, which are open only to Chinese passport holders.
An online advertisement by Mr. Liu’s agency for travel to the three islands says tourists will enjoy “patriotic events” including a “national flag raising ceremony.” Tourists are required to take an oath before the Chinese flag, the advertisement says.
The cruise ship, the Star of the Gulf of Tonkin, sails from Sanya, a port in Hainan, and then stops at Yinyu Island, Quanfu Island and Yagong Island over five days. Time spent on the islands is brief because there are no hotels or restaurants, but tourists are 20) encouraged to socialize with local fishermen. The islands do not have the capacity to handle wedding ceremonies for now, Mr. Liu said.
Passengers sleep on the ship and spend much of their time drinking and watching movies, he said.
Are there plans for cruises to the new artificial islands in the Spratlys, near the Philippines, which now have military runways and deep ports?
“Sure, we want to organize trips there. Who doesn’t?” Mr. Liu said. “But 21) it is not our call. We need 22) approval from the government and, more so, the military.”
Published : 2016-05-28
Source : The New York Times
<Words & Expressions>
1) escalate - 확대되다. 악화되다.< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
2) disputed - 분쟁의, 논란의
3) warship - 군함
4) collision – 충돌
5) claim – 권리
6) crave - 갈망하다. 열망하다.
7) cluster - 무리
8) reefs – 암초
9) to accommodate - 수용하다
10) oversee - 감시하다.
11) jurisdiction - 관할권
12) pristine - 자연 그대로의
13) litter-strewn - 쓰레기로 흩트려진
14) bear a meaning - 의미를 지니다
15) fortify - 강화하다.
16) berth - 침상
17) dredging - 준설한
18) massive - 거대한
19) bustle about - 분주하게 움직이다.
20) encouraged to (something) - 무엇을 하라고 권장하다
21) it is not our call -그것은 우리의 결정이 아니다.
22) approval - 승인