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US to raise 'unhelpful' passports with China

Published on Nov 28, 2012 7:18 AM
A woman holds a Chinese passport, displaying a Chinese map which includes an area in the South China Sea inside a line of dashes representing maritime territory claimed by China (L, top) and a picture of Beijing's Tiananmen Square (bottom), at an office in Wuhan airport, Hubei province, November 23, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States plans to raise controversial new Chinese passports with Beijing, saying the documents featuring a map laying claim to disputed islands, were not helpful.

"We do have concerns about this map, which is causing tension and anxiety between and among the states in the South China Sea," State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said.

"We do intend to raise this with the Chinese," she said, adding the new passports were not "helpful to the environment we all seek to resolve these issues." Taiwan last week protested after China started issuing the new travel documents with maps featuring two of the island's most famous scenic spots as part of Chinese territory.

And Vietnamese immigration officers said on Tuesday they were refusing to stamp entry visas into the new biometric passports which show the contested Paracel and Spratly Islands as Chinese territory, saying they violated its sovereignty.

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