China has established a new city on Yongxing Island in the disputed South China Sea.
The city of Sansha is in the southernmost province of Hainan, the Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
During a ceremony held to mark the city's establishment, the national flag was hoisted and the national anthem was played after the placards of the Sansha Municipal Government and the Sansha Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China were unveiled.
Luo Baoming, the party chief of Hainan province, said in a keynote speech that Sansha was established to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha, and Nansha islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.
"The provincial government will be devoted to turning the city into an important base to safeguard China's sovereignty and serve marine resource development," he added.
The South China Sea is rich in fish and oil and gas resources and straddles some of the world’s most important shipping lanes. In addition to China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei also have claims in the area, although China’s claims encompass almost all of the sea’s waters.