South China Sea claims highlighted in new Chinese map; RP protests

Source: The Daily Tribune

South-China-Sea-Chinese-official-mapIn its latest move emphasizing its claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea, Beijing has released a new official map of its territory which increases the number of disputed marked as officially part of China, including the islands claimed by the Philippines and other neighboring states.

China’s assertions of ownership in the disputed waters have put it at odds with at least four Southeast Asian nations.

The new, longer map dispenses with the box, and shows continental China along with its self-declared sea boundary in the South China Sea – stretching right down to the coasts of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – on one complete map.

“The islands of the South China Sea on the traditional map of China are shown in a in a cut-away box, and readers cannot fully, directly know the full map of China,” the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said on its website.

The government-run Xinhua news agency of China published photos of the map made by Hunan Map Publishing House which said the publication was of “great significance in safeguarding the nation’s water sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“(This helps to) correct misconceptions that territories carry different weights, and fosters a raised territorial awareness and marine consciousness with the public,” editor-in-chief Lei Yixun of the publication house was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
China’s foreign ministry said the goal in issuing the new map “is to serve the Chinese public.”

“As for the intentions, I think there is no need to make too much of any association here,” Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying was quoted as saying.

“China’s position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and extremely clear. Our stance has not changed.”

Beijing claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, but parts of the potentially energy-rich waters are also subject to claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

But the Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), branded China’s new official map as “unreasonably expansive” as it includes areas within Philippine sovereignty as part of Chinese territory.

“We reiterate that such a publication only shows China’s unreasonably expansive claim that is clearly contrary to international law and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a statement.

Reports said China has unveiled a new map that marks a huge area of the South China Sea as part of Chinese jurisdiction, encroaching on the territories of its neighbors like the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

“It is precisely such ambitious expansionism that is causing the tensions in the South China Sea,” Jose said.

China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea – a major shipping route and home to groups of islands, rocks, reefs and cays. Beijing says its claim over the resource-rich waters is indisputable.

The Philippine government has renamed parts of the waters that are within its exclusive economic zone as West Philippine Sea.

Manila challenged China’s claim before an international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, where a resolution is pending.
Relatedly, a member of the House of Representatives yesterday said the neighboring countries – Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia – should join forces with the Philippines by bringing their case against China to an international arbitrator.

“Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia must join forces with our country as the 5 SEA (Southeast Asian) Tigers and settle this dispute with China in an international court,” said Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian in a statement.

Gatchalian expressed belief that the Philippine case against China will have stronger impact and positive results if they will unite and act as one to ensure a louder voice.

Tribune wires and Arlie O. Calalo

One Response. Have your say.

  1. Philip Chin says:

    China’s “nine-dash line” claim was based on 1947 Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government “eleven-dash line” of the South China Sea, enclosing the Spratly Islands and other chains that the ruling Kuomintang party declared were now under Chinese sovereignty called the “living space” for the Chinese nation, and cartographers drew the U-shape of eleven dashes in an attempt to enlarge China’s “living space” in the South China Sea. After the Chinese Communist Party won the civil war in 1949, the “nine-dash line” was created by the People’s Republic of China after erasing two dashes in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1953.

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