Vietnam Protests China’s Plans for Sansha City Garrison

Bloomberg's Stephen Engle on the newly established Chinese city of Sansha, which is already attracting criticism from its neighbors.

Vietnam protested China’s plans to establish a military garrison on a disputed island in the South China Sea, describing the move as a violation of international law and the Southeast Asian nation’s sovereignty, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said.

“China setting up the so-called Sansha City and implementing the above-mentioned actions violated international law, and seriously infringed upon Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly island groups,” Luong Thanh Nghi said in comments published on the ministry’s website today. He criticized an election to appoint delegates of the city, declaring China’s actions “invalid”.

The military garrison for the new city of Sansha was approved as 1,100 Chinese residents elected a legislature to oversee the area, the Xinhua News Agency reported July 22. Sansha is on the Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam.

China’s State Council in June approved the establishment of the prefecture-level city to administer the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia have “de facto military occupation and administration” over most of the disputed islands in the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Taiwan and Brunei, according to the International Crisis Group.

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