BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhuanet) — The first People’s Congress of the newly created city of Sansha has kicked off. Sansha is a new prefecture-level city.
Xiao Jie has been elected as the city’s first mayor. Forty-five deputies elected from 1,100 residents participated in the election.
The city government will be located on Yongxing Island, which lies around 330 kilometers south of China’s Hainan Province. The Hainan Provincial Maritime Bureau is going to carry out regular patrols in waters around the island to safeguard the country’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, the Central Military Commission has also approved the establishment of a security area in Sansha, whose responsibilities include national defense mobilization. The State Council approved the establishment of Sansha in June to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.
Sansha (Chinese: 三沙) is a prefecture-level city in the province of Hainan established by the government of the People’s Republic of China on 24 July 2012, which nominally administers all of the Spratly and Paracel islands, the Macclesfield Bank undersea atoll and surrounding waters, which are disputed with Vietnam and the Philippines, among other parties. Before establishment of Sansha, the county-level Administration Office for the Xisha Islands, the Nansha Islands and the Zhongsha Islands administrated the same territory.
The centre of government for Sansha City is located on Woody Island, also known as Yongxing Island, in the Paracels, on which some 1,000 Chinese civilians currently live. Woody Island is the largest of the islands in the Paracel and Spratly groups. The flat island has an area of about five square miles, is equipped with infrastructure, including a post office, a bank, a supermarket and a hospital but depends on regular supplies from mainland China. Nationally, it is the smallest prefecture-level city by both population and land area, the largest by water area with a claimed 2 million square kilometres (~772,000 square miles), and the southernmost.
Sansha is further subdivided into 3 towns at the township level (4th-level subdivision): –
The Paracels or Xisha Islands – “The West-sands” – Town code: 469037
Governed by the Yongxing Dao Neighborhood Committee at Woody Island.
Effectively maintains control over all the features of the Paracels.
The Macclesfield Bank or Zhongsha Islands – “The Middle-sands” – Town code: 469039
Governed by the Zhongsha Dao and Jiao Neighborhood Committee.
Does not have the actual control of this area.
The Spratlys or Nansha Islands – “The South-sands” – Town code: 469038
Governed by the Yongshu Jiao Neighborhood Committee at Fiery Cross Reef.
Has the actual control over 9 features and James Shoal.
Kalayaan mayor’s assertion
But Kalayaan (Palawan) town on Wednesday asserted its authority over the area.
Kalayaan mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. said Filipinos settled in the islands since 1978, whereas China is forming the government of its Sansha City there only now.
He said he is supposed to administer some 95 islands, shoals, reefs and atolls but some areas there have already been occupied by Vietnam, China and Malaysia. Of the 95 islands, he said only 41 are occupied.
But he said he hopes the Philippines and China can come up with an “agreement on cooperation and (harmonious) co-existence.”
Bito-onon said the town, a fifth-class municipality, has only one village–Barangay Pag-asa. It has a population of “250-plus,” he added.
“(We are) the smallest town in the Philippines,” he said.
PHL to defend its sovereign rights
In his State of the Nation Address, President Aquino said the Philippines will continue to pursue and defend its sovereign rights over the territory.
He also asked China to respect Philippine sovereignty, even as he asserted the country’s rights over the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
Source: GMA News
And now that they already established the City of Sansha and elected a Mayor, let’s see how the Philippines react to it— any moment now.