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Sleepy tropical island belies bold China sea claims

Published on Aug 5, 2012 11:34 AM
 
The sunset in Sansha, China's newest city, anchored on a remote tropical island with coral reefs, palm trees and white sand beaches giving it the allure of a tourist idyll, under the administration of southern Hainan province. The so-called "city" is on Yongxing, one of many small islands, reefs and shoals that make up the disputed Paracel Islands spreading over the northern part of the sea. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - China's newest city might appear to be a tranquil outpost in the South China Sea, but the beaches and palm trees of Sansha are at the heart of a growing territorial dispute.

The so-called "city" is on Yongxing, one of many small islands, reefs and shoals that make up the disputed Paracel Islands spreading over the northern part of the sea.

Beijing claims most of the South China Sea, which is home to vital shipping lanes and possesses varying degrees of proven and estimated oil and gas deposits.

The formation of an administration in Sansha, which will be responsible for China's interests in the South China Sea is just its latest salvo.

 
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