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South China Sea

Philippines uses tourism to advance South China Sea claims

Sights include scenic waters, sandy beaches and 'Welcome to China!' texts

Visitors to West York Island are treated to turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and an up-close view of geopolitical tensions in the South China Sea. (Photo courtesy of Kalayaan Tourism)

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines -- In what he later described as a "once-in-a-lifetime experience," fishing enthusiast Douglas Ebita sprawled out on a white sand beach embracing a five-foot-long tuna. The 28-year-old said there was another reason why the fish was special: He caught it in the disputed South China Sea.

Although Ebita lives in Palawan in the southwest Philippines, this was his first time to visit the area and he was overwhelmed at the sights and sounds he encountered. "Just the beauty of the beach, the water there, the experience of fishing and birding -- you will not experience those elsewhere," Ebita told Nikkei Asia.

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