A New Map in Chinese Passports Stirs Anger Across the Region

China’s new passports, embossed with a map showing disputed territories as belonging solely to the mainland, are causing quite the diplomatic furor in Asia. India, Vietnam, Taiwan and Philippines have all objected to new map, which puts a number of the island chains and border areas under Beijing’s sovereignty. Where some countries in the region see expansionism, many Chinese see reclamation. Some analysts and diplomats are calling the map an unnecessary escalation of already tense territorial disputes. Beijing’s grand vision of a reconstituted “Greater China” is seen as one of the country’s core interests. Abetted by a rising Chinese nationalism that demands more forceful dominion over disputed shards of territory, Beijing is embroiled in a number of overlapping claims across the Asia-Pacific region, from a desolate chunk of the Himalayas to various half-submerged chunks of rock in South China Sea. “I think it’s one very poisonous step by Beijing among their thousands of malevolent actions,” Nguyen Quang A, a former adviser to the Vietnamese government, told The Financial Times, which first reported on the modified passports. A senior diplomat based in Beijing told the paper that the new map represented “quite a serious escalation because China is issuing millions of these new passports and adult passports are valid for 10 years. If Beijing were to change its position later it would have to recall all those passports.” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in a statement that Beijing was “not targeting a specific country” with the revised passport map, noting “China is willing to communicate with relevant countries.” Shi Yinhong, a professor of international affairs at Renmin University, said in The Financial Times that the new map could “demonstrate our national sovereignty but it could also make things more problematic and there is already more than enough trouble” over territorial disputes. The scale and the small size of the map in the passport does not show the tiny but hotly contested Diaoyu islands. The islets are known as Senkakus in Japan, which controls the atoll. They are also claimed by Taiwan. The Times of India reported “New Delhi and Beijing are back to bitter one-upmanship which started with China’s newly launched e-passports showing Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin” in India’s Jammu and Kashmir region as parts of China. “We are not prepared to accept it,” said Salman Khurshid, the Indian foreign minister. “We, therefore, ensure our flags of disagreement are put out immediately when something happens. We can do it in an agreeable way or you can do it in a disagreeable way.” India, meanwhile, has come up with its own map, which it is stamping into passports of Chinese citizens seeking Indian visas. S.D. Pradhan, a former deputy national security adviser in India who also chaired country’s Joint Intelligence Committee, said China has for years been committing “cartographic aggression.” Mr. Pradhan, in Times of India commentary, charged that China has been “aggressively intruding” into Indian border areas, “indulging in bold activities like destroying bunkers or writing ‘China’ on Indian rocks or removing Indian demarcation signs.” Noted there have been “several faceoffs reflecting dangerous dimensions of situation” (…..)

Link: http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/a-map-in-chinas-new-passports-stirs-anger/


Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

4 Responses to A New Map in Chinese Passports Stirs Anger Across the Region

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Every time China’s supposedly intentions of territorial expansion is covered by the NYT, one question comes to my mind. In modern history, I don’t recall China waging war to annex territory as the US and Japan did in the 19th century. I see no reason for China to pursue such backward strategy in the 21st century. Economic integration is already positioning China as the most powerful country-hub in the Asia-Pacific region while the remaining economies, including Japan, the spokes. Islets conflict in the South China sea will be resolved via diplomatic means, eventually. After all, what are the alternatives for neighboring countries?

    Of course, it is in the best strategic interest of the US to keep those conflicts alive. However, the main strength of the Chinese diplomacy, skilled over the centuries, is the psychological exhaustion of the opponents. Similarly to the economic Juggernaut, Chinese diplomacy will prevail in the border conflicts.


  2. SCB: Well, to assist your recollection: In 1950, China invaded Tibet, whose occupation continues to this day; In 1962, China launched a war against India to assert its claims in the disputed Himalayan region; In 1979 China invaded Vietnam to punish Vietnam for its role overthrowing Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime. You are right, though, that China clearly intends to use economic and political coercion to get its way in the S. China Sea, since its claims of sovereignty over the entire sea would never survive the scrutiny of international legal tribunals.


  3. T. Ramakrishnan: There were two full fledged wars for territory — one with India in 1962 and another in the late 1970s with Communist Vietnam. Violent border clashes with the Soviet Union over territory subsided only after the latter threatened nuclear strikes. Even this year, Russia conducted ‘exercises’ all along the Chinese border. Recently, China was agitated over Indian oil exploration in Vietnamese waters, but kept it strictly ‘verbal’.

    China’s foreign policy may be chauvinistic but not adventurist or suicidal.

    However, if her economy tanks, the regime might be tempted to distract civil unrest by stoking xenophobia. Her Asian neighbors are strategically getting closer with each other and with the U.S. The Indo-Russian pact may be old but not obsolete. As for the US, she pursues a two-track policy: economically intimate, militarily suspicious and prepared.


  4. AR: Since you don’t recall, here’s some wars China has waged, “in modern history:” 1950 to annex Tibet, 1950-53 siding with North Korea, 1959 in Tibet, 1960 in Burma, 1962 in India, 1979 in Vietnam. Not everything is about the strategic interest of the US.



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