Apr 19, 2020 / 15:58

China flagrantly sets up districts to administer Vietnam’s Paracel and Spratly Islands

China's aggression at a time of the global pandemic is believed to result in international malevolence.

China has set up two districts called Xisha and Nansha to illegally assert its sovereignty claim over Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands and surrounding waters in the South China Sea.

 Woody Island in Paracel achipelago

The Xisha administration will be located on Phu Lam (Woody Island) in Hoang Sa and the Nansha’s will be on Da Chu Thap (Fiery Cross Reef) in Truong Sa, according to China’s CGTN.

The two districts are currently under the management of Chinese city of Sansha, which was set up in 2012.

Vietnam’s Paracel Islands were occupied by China in a bloody invasion in 1974 while Vietnamese Fiery Cross Reef was invaded by China in 1988, killing 64 Vietnamese marines.

 Fiery Cross Reer in Spratly Islands

Beijing unilaterally claims almost all of the South China Sea which includes part of waters by other claimants namely Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. The conflict has remained unresolved for decades and has now become another flashpoint with the US.

Vietnam has consistently affirmed that it has full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Hanoi has tirelessly protested China’s expansionism in the two archipelagoes.

The establishment of the two districts that was approved by Chinese State Council came at a time when the world is struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Satoru Nagao, who is Visiting Fellow at Hudson Institute, an expert on South Asia East Asia and the Pacific Defense Strategy Security Alliances International Relations Military Procurement and Technology, told Thanh Nien that China is making full use of the Covid-19 pandemic to strengthen its aggression in the South China Sea.

However, its tricks might not result in fruits as expected because its aggression would cause public malevolence while the international public is blaming China for its non-transparent information on the pandemic that makes the disease out of control globally, the expert noted.