Vietnam has strongly criticized a new map published in China which has been vertically extended to highlight Chinese claims in Vietnam's East Sea (aka South China Sea), saying the map violates international laws.
China's new map is vertical. Photo credit: Hurun Map Press/ Xinhua
Le Hai Binh, spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said Thursday that China’s new self-prescribed map covers almost the entire East Sea, including Vietnamese islands.
“We have, many times, reaffirmed Vietnam's position on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands. We strongly condemn the wrongful acts of China and request it to respect international laws and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC),” Binh told press briefing on Thursday.
Binh said that despite the recent visit to Hanoi by Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, China continued with its aggressive actions.
This included publishing the vertical map, putting Vietnam’s Spratly and Paracel islands into China’s new land-use registration system, and building a school on Phu Lam (Woody) Island, part of the Paracels.
Later the same day, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg backed the Philippines’ protest over Chinese reclamation in disputed South China Sea territory while twitting China’s new “10-dash” map, Philippines-based news website InterAksyon reported.
The Philippines says the reefs where China has been undertaking reclamation are within its exclusive economic zone.
The US envoy said the creation of artificial islands is not covered by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and that attempts by a country to infringe on another’s lawful use of the seas should be raised as a concern.
“We think that there should be a code of conduct to further that, and perhaps make it mandatory, as opposed to just a document that people agreed to observe, but make it a document that will have some teeth,” InterAksyon quoted the envoy as telling the Philippine Constitution Association in Makati City.
"Obviously, artificial creations are not part of that, so I think you can take it from there, and UNCLOS speaks about artificial creations not being the kind of features that would be covered," he added.
On the 10-dash map, Goldberg said, “The basic principle remains the same on the nine-dash line which is that it's not basis in international law to decide these issues, that it is something that the Chinese have articulated as a historical reason on their side, but we don’t see that as that basis.”
A previous edition of a Chinese map. Photo credit: Hurun Map Press/ Xinhua
In addition to China's land borders, the new map, which went on sale starting this week, made the disputed waters and its numerous islets and reefs more clearly seem like national territory, Reuters reported.
Previous maps published by the government already include China's claims to most of the East Sea, but in a little box normally in a bottom corner to enable the rest of the country to fit on the map.
The new, longer map dispenses with the box, and shows continental China along with its self-declared sea boundary in the South China Sea - stretching right down to the coasts of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines - on one complete map.
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