(TibetanReview.net, Aug31’23) – China has on Aug 30 justified its cartographic assertion of sovereignty over Aksai Chin and much of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, when asked about India’s lodging of a strong protest over the inclusion of these territories in the 2023 edition of its so-called standard map. Aksai Chin is claimed as part of India’s Union Territory of Ladakh in the north but remains under Chinese occupation along with Tibet while Arunachal Pradesh is a northeastern state of India.
“On Aug 28, the Ministry of Natural Resources of China released the 2023 edition of the standard map. It is a routine practice in China’s exercise of sovereignty in accordance with the law,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin has told a Regular Press Conference on Aug 30, 2023.
He has further said, “We hope relevant sides can stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue.”
India is not the only country to raise strong objections to the inclusion of its territories in China’s latest so-called standard map. The Philippines and Malaysia too have strongly rejected today the new Chinese map.
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The Philippines has rejected the 2023 version of China’s standard map because of its inclusion of the nine-dash line, now a 10-dash line that supposedly shows China’s boundaries in the South China Sea, reported manilatimes.net Aug 31.
The report noted that China’s 2023 “standard map” lays claim to a large part of the South China Sea, including the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
“This latest attempt to legitimize 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),” the report quoted the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as saying in a statement Aug 31.
The 2016 Arbitral Award “invalidated the nine-dash line,” the DFA statement was stated to have stressed.
“The Philippines, therefore, calls on China to act responsibly and abide by its obligations under Unclos and the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award.”
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Malaysia too has rejected the latest edition of the “standard map of China” that lays claim to almost the entire South China Sea, including areas lying off the coast of Malaysian Borneo, reported aljazeera.com Aug 31.
The report noted that in recent years, China had built military outposts on rocky outcrops and deployed its coast guard and maritime militia, which sometimes led to confrontations with other claimants, including Malaysia and the Philippines. Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to the sea.
Malaysia has noted that the new map, which clearly depicts the nine-dash line, showed China’s “unilateral maritime claims” and that they overlapped with Malaysia’s claims of its states of Sabah and Sarawak.
“Malaysia does not recognise China’s claims in the South China Sea as outlined in the ‘2023 edition of the standard map of China’ which extends into Malaysian maritime area,” the country’s foreign ministry has said in a statement on Aug 31 night. “The map has no binding effect on Malaysia.”