China maps out territorial claim on new passport

Vietnam’s passport control offices are refusing to stamp visa pages in the new passport, as the map of China inside marks in print the country’s territorial claims on the South China Sea. And Vietnam, also claiming sovereignty on part of the waters, says it is unacceptable. Wang Xinye tells how the territorial dispute has been affecting Chinese travelling to Vietnam.

Holders of new Chinese passports trying to enter Vietnam are finding themselves in a tricky situation. And it’s all because of a few additional lines on a map, printed in the revised passports.

The map lays clear claim of China to the maritime soverignty in the South China seas. But Vietnam is refusing to accept this. Vietnamese passport control offices are issuing separate visa sheets to new Chinese passport holders instead of stamping inside the pages, which according to British newspaper Financial Times, is seen as recognition of China’s territorial claims.

Vietnam’s Foreign Minister has formally complained to China, and demanded a correction of the map.

And this has been met with objection in China.

Ms. Chen, Student, Tsinghua Univ., said, “It should be printed on here, because this was originally China’s. The islands originally were ours. It’s just like the Diaoyu Islands–we should take back what’s ours.”

China began issuing these new passports to include electronic chips on May 15, though criticism cropped up only this week.

The Philippines also opposed the map. And it’s causing many Chinese to consider changing their travel plans.

Chen Chuliang, Beijing Resident, said, “If the controversies continue to snowball, I certainly won’t choose to go to these countries.”

China’s Foreign Ministry has declared the country’s stance.

Hua Chunying, Spokeswoman, Chinese Foreign Ministry, said, “China’s standard electronic passports are issued according to international civil aviation standards. China is not targeting a specific country. China is willing to communicate with the relevant countries, and continue promoting contact and healthy development with foreign personnel.”

The territorial disputes saw escalation since rich energy resources were found in the South China Sea. China has reiterated the principles of shelving differences and making joint development.


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