China on Sunday announced its findings based on underwater research, conducted in record time.
Chinese archaeologists have discovered a dozen "underwater cultural relic sites" in the Xisha Islands in South China Sea.
Xisha is part of the larger Sansha Islands area, under the jurisdiction of China's Hainan province. China is now set to use evidence found by archaeologists during underwater exploration to prove that it owned the islands since ancient times.
The government indicated that the archaeologists found coins and pottery from India and West Asia during their underwater searches. These relics would be used to establish China's claims over the disputed islands.
The archaeologists also claimed to produce evidence of rampant stealing of underwater relics by non-Chinese forces. The archaeologists collected a large quantity of specimens, including ancient pottery and porcelain wares, copper coins and boat parts, Li Jilong, an expert with the provincial cultural heritage bureau, was quoted in the Chinese media as saying.