China Opens New Port for South China Sea Fishing
China has opened a large fishing port, the closest one to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, to service fishing vessels working in the area.
The port is located in Yazhou, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Sanya in Hainan province.
More than 300 fishing vessels left the port on Monday for nearby South China Sea fishing grounds.
Li Jin, vice-general manager of Sanya Yazhou Port Investment Co, told China Daily that the port can accommodate 800 fishing boats, but in the long term it will be able to handle 2,000.
Zhang Huazhong, head of the Sanya Ocean and Fishery Bureau, said the port has "very important significance in safeguarding China's fishing rights in the South China Sea."
It is also designed to help with supplies for Sansha, the southernmost Chinese city, which administers an area of about two million square kilometers in the South China Sea.
China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan lay claim to parts of the sea, through which passes about $5 trillion of trade a year
Countries competing to cement their rival claims have encouraged a growing civilian presence on disputed islands in the South China Sea.