Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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China Targets South China Sea Tourism Market; Plans to Operate Eight Cruise Ships in Disputed Water

China Cruise Ship

(Photo : Getty Images) China is planning to operate cruise liners to the disputed South China Sea.

China is aiming to tap into the tourism market in the disputed South China Sea.

A national Chinese cruise company is planning to operate five to eight cruise ships in the South China Sea.

State-owned China Cosco Shipping, China National Travel Service Group Corp and China Communications Construction jointly formed a cruise company - Sanya International Cruise Development Co Ltd - to operate regular cruise lines in the South China Sea.

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"The company is already operating 'Stream of the South Asia Sea, a brand new cruise ship," Sanya International Cruise' chairman Liu Junli said, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper. Sanya International Cruise will buy new cruise liners and also build four cruise liner docks in Sanya.

"With a goal of becoming one of the largest cruise ports in Asia, Sanya's Phoenix Island will be able to berth five cruise liners and has a tourist handling capacity of 2 million people a year," Liu said.

Last month, China Cosco Shipping Corp announced its plan to launch cruise lines from Sanya to the Yongle Island soon. "It is practical to stimulate the local economy through the development of tourism, logistics and infrastructure facilities," COSCO Shipping' chairman Xu Lirong said recently.

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled last week that there is no legal basis to Beijing's territorial claims in the disputed waters.

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