Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam follow India in rejecting China’s latest map

The Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have all rejected a map released by China recently that showed Beijing's territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea, joining India in slamming its neighbour for territorial exaggeration.

After India, now the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have rejected a recent map released by China that showed Beijing's territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea. Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

The countries categorically shot down the legitimacy of the assertions on the map even as Beijing claimed on Thursday that it should be viewed 'rationally and objectively', a report by Independent said.

Rejecting the map, the Malaysian foreign ministry said in a statement as quoted by Independent: "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 the Malaysian maritime area."

The country said it has filed a diplomatic protest over the issue.

The Philippines government also asked Beijing to "act responsibly and abide by its obligations" under international law.

"The Philippines rejects the 2023 version of China’s Standard Map issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources of the People's Republic of China on August 28, 2023, because of its inclusion of the nine-dashed line (now a ten-dashed line) that supposedly shows China’s boundaries in the South China Sea," the government said in a statement.

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"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 2016 Arbitral Award invalidated the nine-dashed line. It categorically stated that 'maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the ‘nine-dash line’ are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention'," the statement said.

When enquired about the latest Chinese “standard” map, Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Jeff Liu said Taiwan was "absolutely not a part of the People’s Republic of China".

"No matter how the Chinese government twists its position on Taiwan’s sovereignty, it cannot change the objective fact of our country’s existence," he was quoted as saying by Independent.

A similar sentiment was displayed by Vietnam. Pham Thu Hang, the spokesperson for Vietnam's foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that the nation "resolutely opposes all China's claims in the South China Sea based on the dotted line."

India's reaction

India on Tuesday lodged a strong protest through diplomatic channels with Beijing over the issue of the 2023 standard map of China that lays claim to India’s territory.

In response to media queries, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "India rejects these claims as they have no basis."

"Such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question," the MEA spokesperson said.

China’s position on the South China Sea is consistent and clear: Foreign Ministry

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin reacted to the development around the map and said in a statement: "China’s position on the South China Sea is consistent and clear."

"The competent authorities of China routinely publish standard maps of various types every year, which aims to make standard maps available to all sectors of society and raise public awareness of the standardized use of maps. We hope parties concerned can view it in an objective and rational light," he said.