China on Tuesday officially established the city of Sansha on the island of Yongxing in the country’s latest attempt to assert its sovereignty over the islands and waterways of the South China Sea, state media reported. While the local government’s jurisdiction covers only 13 square kilometers of land, including Yongxing Island and other nearby islands, it encompasses 2 million square kilometers of surrounding waters. The city’s establishment would “protect the sovereign rights of China,” declared Sansha Mayor Xiao Jie. Separate reports said the Philippines and Vietnam, which also claim sovereignty over the resource-rich islands and waterways of the South China Sea, criticized the move as the latest in a series of recent provocations by China. “The Philippines does not recognize the Sansha city and the extent of its jurisdiction,” said Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez.