China reiterated its sovereignty Tuesday over the Xisha Islands and their adjacent waters and declared Vietnam's appointment of an official in this area illegal and invalid.
The statement followed a move by Vietnam, which appointed Dang Cong Ngu as chairman of the People's Committee of the Huyen dao Hoang Sa on April 25. Vietnam calls the Xisha Islands the Hoang Sa Islands.
The group consists of more than 30 islets, sandbanks or reefs over an area of about 15,000 square kilometers in the South China Sea.
"China has indisputable sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and their adjacent waters," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu in a press release Tuesday, adding that there were no disputes over the sovereignty of the Xisha Islands between China and Vietnam.
Thus, Vietnam's move to appoint an official in the Xisha Islands was illegal and invalid, said Jiang.
China has already informed Vietnam of its position, said Jiang.