Beijing's South China Sea rivals outraged by map on new passport
TAIPEI (AP) - China has enraged several neighbours with a few dashes on a map, printed in its newly revised passports, that show it staking its claim on the entire South China Sea.
Inside the new passports, an outline of China printed in the upper left corner includes Taiwan and the sea, hemmed in by the dashes. The change highlights China's longstanding claim on the South China Sea in its entirety, though parts of the waters also are claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.
China's official maps have long included Taiwan and the South China Sea as Chinese territory, but the act of including those in its passports could be seen as a provocation since it would require other nations to tacitly endorse those claims by affixing their official seals to the documents.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters in Manila that he sent a note to the Chinese Embassy that his country "strongly protests" the image. He said China's claims include an area that is "clearly part of the Philippines' territory and maritime domain." The Vietnamese government said it had also sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, demanding that Beijing remove the "erroneous content" printed in the passport. In Beijing, the Foreign Ministry said the new passport was issued based on international standards.