Chinese news outlet CGTN has reported that Sansha City, Hainan has established two districts, the Paracel (Xisha) District and Spratly (Nansha) District, following the approval of the State Council.
Paracel or Xisha District, with district government at Woody Island, will administer Paracel Islands and Zhongsha which includes Scarborough Shoal. Vietnam, China, and Taiwan all have claims in Paracel Islands. Philippines, China, and Taiwan claims Scarborough Shoal.
The second district is Spratly or Nansha District, with district government at Fiery Cross Reef, will administer Spratly Islands. Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Philippines, and Vietnam all have claims in Spratly Islands.
In relation to this, former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario urged the Philippine government to file a protest.
“We therefore respectfully urge our government to protest this recent action of China, as it rightly did over the sinking of the Vietnamese fishing boat on April 8, 2020,” del Rosario said in a statement. “These recent events in the South China Sea remind us Filipinos to be eternally vigilant in the defense of our country’s territory and sovereign rights even as we confront a very grave threat as COVID-19.”
“These show that China has been relentless in exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to pursue its illegal and expansive claims in the South China Sea to the prejudice of Filipinos, the ASEAN states and the international community as a whole,” he added.