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China decries attempts to "read too much into" passport map row

Published on Nov 28, 2012 6:35 PM
 
A page from a Chinese passport displays a Chinese map which includes an area in the South China Sea inside a line of dashes representing maritime territory claimed by China, in Kunming, Yunnan province, Nov 23, 2012. The Philippines said on Nov 28, 2012, that it would refuse to stamp Chinese passports containing a map showing most of the China South Sea as belonging to China, as it stepped up protests over the controversial move. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China said on Wednesday that people should not read too much into the placement of a new map in its passports that depicts claims to disputed territory, after the United States said it would raise concerns with Beijing over the issue.

The Philippines and Vietnam have condemned the new microchip-equipped passports, saying the map they incorporate violates their national sovereignty by marking disputed waters as Chinese territory.

India, which also claims two Himalayan regions shown as Chinese territory on the map, is responding by issuing visas stamped with its own version of the borders.

"The aim of China's new electronic passports is to strengthen its technological abilities and make it convenient for Chinese citizens to enter or leave the country," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

 
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