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China's new 'standard map' draws flak as neighbours issue strong statements like India

India had earlier rejected China’s so-called “standard map” and lodged a protest against it which layed its claim over Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin. China published a new version of its national map on August 28.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick Beijing Published on: September 01, 2023 7:08 IST
Chinese President Xi Jinping
Image Source : AP Chinese President Xi Jinping

China's provocation: The governments in the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan on Thursday (August 31) rejected China’s new national map and issued strong-worded statements while accusing Beijing of claiming their territory.

India had earlier rejected China’s so-called “standard map” and lodged a protest against it which layed its claim over Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin.

China published a new version of its national map on Monday (August 28) to correct what Beijing has previously referred to as “problematic maps” that it claims misrepresent its territorial borders.

India’s External Affairs Ministry also rejected China's claims as having "no basis”.

"Just making absurd claims does not make other people's territories yours," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said while reacting to the Chinese move.

Philippines reacts strongly

The Philippine government on Thursday hit out at China’s 2023 edition of its so-called “standard map”  that still showed swaths of Philippine features in the West Philippine Sea.

On August 28, the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources issued a controversial map that includes the nine-dash line, now a 10-dash line, that supposedly shows China’s boundaries in the South China Sea.

"This latest attempt to legitimise China’s purported sovereignty and jurisdiction over Philippine features and maritime zones has no basis under international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said in a statement.

"(The award) categorically stated that ‘maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the ‘nine-dash line’ are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention,” Daza said to the country’s news agency.

She added that the Philippines calls on China to “act responsibly” and abide by its obligations under UNCLOS and the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award.

Malaysia protests

The Malaysian government on Thursday said that it will issue a note of protest to China over its claims on the South China Sea as outlined in the ‘China Standard Map Edition 2023’, which also covers Malaysia's maritime areas.

According to the Foreign Minister Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, the move was a follow-up step taken by the government over the matter.

"This has been our practice (when dealing with issues like this)... and based on the statement issued by Wisma Putra yesterday, the next step includes sending a protest note," he was quoted as saying by a news agency.

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the “China Standard Map Edition 2023," holds no binding authority over Malaysia.

Vietnam lodges protest

The Vietnamese government also lodged its protest over the map and criticised China’s latest provocation.

Vietnam strongly reiterates its consistent stance on the sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly), and resolutely rejects any maritime claims of China that are based on the “nine-dash line” in the East Sea, spokeswoman of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang said on Thursday.

She stressed that the issuance of the map as well as China’s “nine-dash line” claim show a violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, as well as Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over its waters as stipulated in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

“Therefore, the sovereignty and maritime claims based on the “nine-dash line” as reflected in the map are void and violate international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS,” the spokeswoman said.

Taiwan hits back at China

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday hit back at China stating that Taiwan has never been ruled by the People's Republic of China (PRC).

"Taiwan, the Republic of China, is a sovereign and independent country that is not subordinate to the People's Republic of China. The People's Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan. These are universally recognised facts and the status quo in the international community,” Foreign ministry spokesperson Jeff Liu said.

China refuses to budge

China's foreign ministry suggested that it would not budge on the issue of the new map.

"China’s position on the South China Sea is consistent and clear. The competent authorities of China routinely publish standard maps of various types every year, which aims to make standard maps available to all sectors of society and raise public awareness of the standardised use of maps. We hope parties concerned can view it in an objective and rational light," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response to a question on Thursday when sought his comment on the protests from countries like India, Malaysia as well as the Philippines against this new Chinese map.

(With PTI inputs)

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