China Angers Vietnam By Announcing A Tiny New City On Disputed South China Sea Island

south china sea

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

China today announced a new city on a tiny and remote island in the South China Sea, in what appears to be a bid to enhance its claims to sovereignty over disputed waters, the AP reports.The new municipality will be known as Sansha City and sits on the small island of Yongxing. According to Xinhua, just 613 people are currently residents of the city, and the AP reports there is barely enough room for a single strip airport, a post office, a bank, a supermarket and a hospital on the island. Fresh water, along with rice and vegetables, takes 13 hours to arrive via freighter.

Chines authorities also announced that the Sansha municipality will include 770,000 square miles surrounding the islands.

The announcement of the new city came just a day after China announced it would be establishing a military garrison on islands, which are also claimed by the government of Vietnam.

China lays claim to much of the islands in the South China Sea, despite the rival claims of Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia. The area has long been disputed due to its valuable status as a trade route and fishing source. New reports of potential oil and gas deposits appear to have heightened tensions.

A statement on the Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website says that the country will refuse to recognise Sansha City. The Philippines have reportedly summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest the island.

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