The decision to establish Sansha city in South China's Hainan province to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands and their surrounding waters will further protect the South China Sea's marine environment, local authorities said.

The country's Sansha plan will help coordinate the three islands' efforts to protect the marine environment and islands' scientific development, said Zhao Zhongshe, director of the Hainan Department of Ocean and Fisheries, Hainan Daily reported during the weekend.

The State Council has approved the establishment of the prefectural-level city of Sansha and decided that its government seat will be on Yongxing Island, which is part of the Xisha Islands, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs last week.

Zhao said South China Sea has a fragile marine environment and the Sansha government, once established, will do more to protect the sea from harm caused by people.

To that end, the government's top priority will be to establish ocean protection zones and ocean parks, he added.

Besides benefiting the environment, the establishment of Sansha will also contribute to local economic development, Wu Shicun, director of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told Hainan Daily.

Wu said Sansha's establishment will accelerate the opening of the Xisha Islands and possibly lead to a faster release of tourism plans for the islands.

Cai Damao, a farmer who has lived on Yongxing Island for 12 years, is excited about the city's potential for development.

He told China Daily the establishment of Sansha city will improve the construction of infrastructure on Yongxing Island, helping to ensure that more harbors, hotels and roads are built there and that the city becomes more attractive.

"By then, I'll be asking my son, who works in Haikou, Hainan province, to move back," Cai said.

SOURCE: China Daily

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