China has strengthened its claim over South China Sea islands by broadening the scope and powers of the government unit covering disputed territories such as Scarborough Shoal and the Spratlys. On June 21, China established Sansha, a prefectural-level city that administers the 3 disputed island groups of Nansha (Spratly Islands), Xisha (Paracel Islands), and Zhongsha (Macclesfield Bank). The new city also covers the groups’ surrounding waters. The Philippines claims portions of the Spratly Islands while Macclesfield Bank includes Scarborough Shoal, the site of a 2-month standoff between the Philippines and China.
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