Passport

Philippines plans tourist resort on disputed islands

Looking for a vacation destination featuring sun, sand, and thumbing your nose at China’s geopolitical ambitions? Have you considered the Spratlys? The Philippines plans to develop a disputed island in the South China Sea into a tourism centre with a 100-metre (330-ft) concrete wharf, officials said on Monday, a bold assertion of its sovereignty that ...

Looking for a vacation destination featuring sun, sand, and thumbing your nose at China's geopolitical ambitions? Have you considered the Spratlys?

The Philippines plans to develop a disputed island in the South China Sea into a tourism centre with a 100-metre (330-ft) concrete wharf, officials said on Monday, a bold assertion of its sovereignty that is bound to rile China.

Last week, China protested the planned construction of a beaching ramp by the Philippines on the coral-fringed island, the second largest in the Spratlys and the biggest occupied by the Philippines in the contested region.[..]

Looking for a vacation destination featuring sun, sand, and thumbing your nose at China’s geopolitical ambitions? Have you considered the Spratlys?

The Philippines plans to develop a disputed island in the South China Sea into a tourism centre with a 100-metre (330-ft) concrete wharf, officials said on Monday, a bold assertion of its sovereignty that is bound to rile China.

Last week, China protested the planned construction of a beaching ramp by the Philippines on the coral-fringed island, the second largest in the Spratlys and the biggest occupied by the Philippines in the contested region.[..]

A Philippine navy commander said local authorities planned to transform military-held areas of the Spratlys into tourist attractions, including potential diving spots.

In the 1990s, Japanese tourists frequented the area for its pristine beaches and coral reefs, ferried by yacht from Cebu Island in the Philippines.

But the military will first build a pier on Thitu, possibly by the second half of the year, Juan Sta. Ana, head of the Philippine Ports Authority, told Reuters. A panel of defence, tourism and transportation and communications officials will finalise a development plan for the island after April 8.

China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over the area based on historical records, a claim that just might be motivated by the estimated 213 barrels of oil in the South China Sea. Various sections of the uninhabitable 250-island chain are claimed by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, though only China claims all of them. The dispute has sometimes become violent: at least 70 sailors were killed in a skirmish between the Chinese and Vietnamese navies over a disputed reef in 1988. 

But hey, why let that get in the way of some good diving?

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

The Taliban delegation leaves the hotel after meeting with representatives of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Qatar in Moscow on March 19.

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

Beijing has its eyes set on using Afghanistan as a strategic corridor once U.S. troops are out of the way.

An Afghan security member pours gasoline over a pile of seized drugs and alcoholic drinks

The Taliban Are Breaking Bad

Meth is even more profitable than heroin—and is turbocharging the insurgency.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addresses the U.N. Security Council from her office in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 4, 2020.

Belarus’s Unlikely New Leader

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya didn’t set out to challenge a brutal dictatorship.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid

What the Taliban Takeover Means for India

Kabul’s swift collapse leaves New Delhi with significant security concerns.