(BGF) – China took a new action to further claim its sovereignty over the South China Sea by printing a map including the disputed territories inside its new Chinese passports. This has infuriated Vietnam and the Philippines as China is forcing its neighbor immigration officials and citizens to implicitly recognize Chinese claims over the South China Sea every time a Chinese citizen is given a visa or an entry or exit stamp in one of the new paspports.
China stamps passports with sea claims
Nov 21, 2012 | By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and Ben Bland in Phnom Penh
“It’s one very poisonous step by Beijing among their thousands of malevolent actions” — Nguyen Quang A
Beijing has included its South China Sea territorial claims on maps printed inside new Chinese passports, infuriating at least one of its neighbours.
Vietnam has made a formal complaint to Beijing about the new passports.
“The Vietnamese side has taken note of this matter and the two sides are discussing it, but so far there has been no result,” said Vietnam’s embassy in Beijing.
Other countries that have clashed with China over its assertions in the South China Sea, in particular the Philippines, are also worried China is trying to force their immigration officials to implicitly recognise Chinese claims every time a Chinese citizen is given a visa or an entry or exit stamp in one of the new passports.
The Philippines embassy in Beijing has not responded to requests for comment.
The territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas have overshadowed a series of summits of Asia-Pacific leaders in Cambodia attended by US President Barack Obamathis week, with discord among southeast Asian nations over how to respond to an increasingly assertive China.
China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, including large swaths of territory that smaller neighbouring countries say belongs to them, and Beijing has been increasingly strident in recent years in asserting those claims.
The claims are represented on Chinese maps by a “nine-dash line” that incorporates the entire South China Sea and hugs the coastline of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and a small part of Indonesia.
The nine dashes enclose a region that is believed to be rich in undersea energy reserves and also incorporate the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.
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