China asserts its claim in the contoroversial artificial island, the Fiery Cross Reef located in the Spratlys by allowing the first group of tourists to visit the island which was reclaimed by China for the past few years. According to a Hong Kong news outlet, a Hainan Airlines plane carried the civilian visitors to the island.
The tourists who were the first civilians to visit the island are all families of soldiers who are stationed on the island according to Sina News reports.
Photos of the civilians who visited the China-reclaimed island were posted on various social media sites on China and on various news portal. Pictures posted online showed happy family reunions on the landing field, with uniformed Chinese soldiers holding their wives and young kids.
The Chinese government announced last week that they successfully conducted test flights with empty civilian planes around the artificial island, prompting protest from Vietnam and the Philippines. Aside from Vietnam and the Philippines other countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have competing claims in the Spratly chain of islands.