World Bulletin / News Desk
Vietnam is offering hundreds of citizens a once in a lifetime holiday with a cruise to some of Asia's most hotly contested island.
The move is likely to increase its strain on relations with China. Though other countries lay claim to parts of the Spratly archipelago, China claims ownership to the entire cluster of islands and reefs in addition to about 90 percent of the South China Sea.
In an US$800 promotion offer, 180 Vietnamese will be to see parts of the disputed Spratly archipelago this month and take part in night fishing, visit a lighthouse and enjoy local seafood.
Those with cash to spare will also have VIP hotel rooms and can fly in on their private helicopters, according to the Ho Chi Minh City government's website.
The extravagantly worded offer is for a six-day cruise that will visit two reefs and two islands in the Spratlys, or Truong Sa as it is known in Vietnamese.
It makes very little attempt to disguise its political flavour and comes as Vietnam pursues a bolder agenda in pushing its claims in the face of China's own growing assertiveness.
"Travelling to Truong Sa ... means the big trip of your life, reviving national pride and citizens' awareness of the sacred maritime sovereignty of the country," the promotion said.
"Tourists will no longer feel Truong Sa as far away, the blue Truong Sa ocean will be deep in people's hearts."
Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia are competing for sole jurisdiction of the Spratlys with China, which claims nine-tenths of the South China Sea, a crticially important global shipping lane with potentially vast energy reserves.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Haziran 2015, 15:16