National Geographic Society to fix mapping error

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The US National Geographic Society announced on Thursday that maps labeling the Paracel Islands as part of China will be changed following Vietnam's complaints about its depiction of the archipelago as belonging to China.

Maps that have already been printed will not be changed but future maps will be fixed, according to the organization.

"We have carefully reviewed the situation and recognize that simply denoting the archipelago with the Chinese name and the word "˜China' in parenthesis without further explanation can be misleading and misinterpreted," the institution said.

The National Geographic Society said it will apply new naming conventions on future printings of its map and the changes will be online "in short order."

"The naming conventions of the Paracel Islands on our maps will be revised as follows: Smaller-scale world maps: Use conventional name - Paracel Islands; omit possession label.

"Larger-scale regional, continental, and sectional maps: Use conventional name - Paracel Islands. Expand possession qualifier: Occupied by China in 1974, which calls them Xisha Qundao; claimed by Vietnam, which calls them Hoang Sa."

The Vietnamese government said on March 13 that the National Geographic Society was wrong to put the note "Paracel Is. China" to refer to Vietnam's Hoang Sa archipelago on its world map and requested the mistake be corrected.

"Vietnam has indisputable sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga stressed.

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