On July 19, 2012, the Chinese Central Military Commission decided to formally establish the "military command" of the so-called "Sansha city", based on Phu Lam island in Hoang Sa archipelago, and on July 21, 2012, the Chinese side held an election for the first tenure of the people’s congress of the so called "Sansha city". In response to the above-said developments, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi stated:
"The Chinese establishment of the so-called "Sansha city” and its above-said moves seriously violate international law and Viet Nam's sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes, and are null and void. These activities go against the common perception of the leaders of the two countries, violate the Agreement on the Basic Principles Guiding the Settlement of Maritime Issues between Viet Nam and China signed in October 2011; run counter to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea signed in 2002 between ASEAN and China and complicate the situation in the East Sea.
Viet Nam resolutely opposes those moves by China and urges China to respect the sovereignty of Viet Nam, immediately end and cancel such erroneous actions, making practical contribution to developing friendly relations and cooperation between Viet Nam and China as well as to maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea.
On July 24, 2012, Viet Nam's Foreign Ministry sent a note of protest to the Chinese Foreign Ministry."