By Mei Jingya, Sina English
Chinese media reported on Saturday that Sanya City, a famed tourist destination in the southern Chinese province of Hainan, is planning to include the island chains of Zhongsha and Nansha in the South China Sea in a cruise route under a 10-year tourism development plan.
In response, Philippine's Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said China sending tourists to the disputed territories in the South China Sea would be a security concern, according to a report on the Daily Inquirer.
“That would be a security concern because if they intrude in our territory, that would be a big problem,” Gazmin told reporters.
Gazmin said that he has agreed with his Chinese counterpart to ensure the lines between the two countries to be open and no provocative action undertaken by each side.
According to local media reports, a Philippine lawmaker, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, on Tuesday asked the Department of Tourism to develop the disputed islands into a Philippine tourist spot as a countermeasure to China's plan.
Asked for his comment on the proposal, Gazmin withheld further comment.
“According to our protocol, it is the Department of Foreign Affairs that should first comment as regards such issues,” Gazmin said.