BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Saturday issued its first strategic plan for territory development and preservation, outlining the protection of arable land reserves and islands, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Issued by the State Council, or Cabinet, the plan demands the retention of 1.825 billion mu of arable land by 2030. That is equivalent to about 1.2 million square kilometers (sq km), or the size of South Africa.
China, the world's third-largest country by size, has a landmass of 9.6 million sq km and nearly 3 million sq km of maritime area, according to Xinhua.
Urban areas must occupy no greater space than 116,700 sq km by 2030, according to the plan.
The plan also calls for enhanced restoration of the ecology on the nation's islands.
It also said infrastructure on islands with development plans must be improved to protect their natural resources.
The plan said development of tourism projects on remote islands would be encouraged, and the ocean economy would account for a greater share of the country's growth.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo, editing by Louise Heavens)