China has apparently settled the ongoing territorial dispute over the South China Sea by issuing a new map in which the country has taken almost the entire area for itself. After moving several oil rigs into the South China Sea recently, tensions have elevated among its neighbours in Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
State media earlier said China had unveiled a new official map of the country giving greater play to its claims on the South China Sea, making the disputed waters and its numerous islets and reefs more clearly seem like national territory… It shows continental China and its self-declared boundary in the South China Sea – stretching to the coasts of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – on one complete map.
After the new map was made public, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, said it’s really nothing to worry about.
Hua told reporters people should not read too much into the issuing of the new map. “The goal is to serve the Chinese public. As for the intentions, I think there is no need to make too much of any association here,” she said.
Philippine Foreign Ministry spokesman Charles Jose said the publication of the map showed China’s “unreasonably expansive claims” that he said contravened international law.
Glad we cleared that up.
In a twist of irony, as Japan has begun to assert its own rights, China suggested that such actions might cause unnecessary tension in the region.
“We think that the relevant country should earnestly show its sincerity, meet China halfway, rather than creating tensions and rivalry and adding new, complicating factors to the situation in the region,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.
Hua urged Manila to “play a positive and constructive role” for peace and stability, “rather than the reverse”.
Read more: ABS CBN News