China’s Visa-Free Tourism May Lure Travelers into Disputed Sea.


Press. Voanews.
Opening the Paracels to foreign travelers would help China politically, some analysts say. Beijing could show people from many countries it has “effective administration” over the contested sea, said Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Other countries would be unlikely to hassle China if they knew foreign tourists were at sea, he added.

“It allows China to assert its sovereignty claim and, not just that, it’s also to highlight that it does have effective administration over the area,” Koh said. “It actually gives you additional security, because if you have foreigners from different countries all over the world in that place, it decreases the chance of any other people taking rash actions against you.”

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines claim parts of the South China Sea, which is valued for fisheries and undersea energy reserves. China and Taiwan call the whole 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea their own.
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