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China to Open Xisha Islands to Tourism Before May, Xinhua Says

China plans to open the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea to cruise-ship tourists ahead of the May Day holiday, Xinhua News Agency said, citing Tan Li, executive vice governor of the southernmost province of Hainan.

Tourists will be allowed to land on the islands for sightseeing while eating and sleeping on their ships, Xinhua cited Tan as saying. Cruise-ship tours were chosen because hotels and other facilities on the islands are inadequate to accommodate visitors, he was cited as saying.

The Xisha Islands, a cluster of islets, sandbanks and reefs also known as the Paracels, are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

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