BEIJING — The local government in China’s southernmost city has vowed to “delay not a single day” to accelerate the city’s construction in the South China Sea.
The local government also said it will put safegarding national sovereignty in a better position. The pledge by Xiao Jie, mayor of Sansha, was made on the sidelines of the first session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.
Xiao’s promise came as Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Wednesday that the central authorities’ decision to set up Sansha city last year was an important move after taking into account situations at home and abroad.
Home to about 1,000 residents, Sansha was officially set up as China’s youngest city in July last year to administer about 2-million-square-km islands, coastal areas and territorial seas in the South China Sea.
The city of Sansha gets its name from three island groups under its jurisdiction — Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha — and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.
Special work teams have been established and local laws and regulations have been passed to accelerate the construction of infrastructure facilities in Sansha city, said Xiao, who is also a deputy to the 12th NPC session.
Located on 2.13-square-km Yongxing Island, the Sansha government and local residents rely on ships for fresh water and other materials.
More than 180 sea miles away from the Qinglan port in Hanhai Island, transport and logistics support remains vulnerable for the city, said Xiao.
More office buildings will be built for local villagers’ committees, Xiao said, adding that the city is also preparing ship routes and logistics supports for opening the islands and their surrounding waters for tourists.
“When conditions permit, we will open for tourism,” said Xiao, “I believe it won’t take too long.”
In the government work report to the opening session of the 12th NPC on Tuesday, Premier Wen Jiabao said the government should strengthen comprehensive marine management, protect the marine ecological environment and safeguard China’s maritime rights and interests.
While deliberating on the report with other national lawmakers from the province, Yang said people in Hainan have contributed greatly in safeguarding the security and sovereignty of China along with the whole nation.
“I believe the establishment of Sansha city will bring great opportunities to the province’s development and opening up drive,” he said.