Military authorities are considering establishing a presence in the city of Sansha, the Ministry of Defense said yesterday.
The ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said during a regular press conference that China may set up local military command organs in the city according to relevant regulations.
The State Council, or China's cabinet, has approved the establishment of the prefecture-level city of Sansha to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha island groups and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea, while the government seat will be stationed on Yongxing Island, part of the Xisha Islands, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The council has abolished a county-level administration office for the islands that was previously stationed on Yongxing Island.
Meanwhile, Geng said the US's reinforcement of military deployment in the Asia-Pacific is not conducive to security and mutual trust in the region.
Geng made the comment in response to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore earlier this month.
Panetta announced that Washington is seeking to increase the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific by shifting 60 percent of its navy ships to the region by 2020 despite budgetary pressure.
China is concerned about Panetta's remarks, according to Geng. Deliberately highlighting the military and security agenda, and deploying more military forces in the Asia-Pacific go against the world's pursuit of peace, development and cooperation, as well as trust among nations in the region, he said.