Plans for the newly-established city of Sansha will need approval from the State Council, or China's cabinet, according to a government statement issued on Monday.
After being approved by the provincial government of Hainan, the plans must be cleared by the State Council in accordance with a national law on urban and rural planning, the statement said.
The State Council will require the Hainan provincial government and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development to carry out the procedures, the statement said.
The State Council gave the green light to build the prefectural-level city of Sansha last year to administer three island groups — Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha — and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.
The city's government will be stationed on Yongxing Island, part of the Xisha Islands, according to a statement from the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued on June 21, 2012.
Sansha city administers over 200 islets, sandbanks and reefs in Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands, covering 13 square kilometers in island area and 2 million square kilometers of water.
China said it first discovered and named the reefs, islets and surrounding waters of Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands. In 1959, it became the first country to set up an administrative office to exercise sovereignty over the area.
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