China expands and conquers

It would appear that China is playing the game of Risk for serious.

The Phillippines and Vietnam are not thrilled with China’s new passport, which shows a map of Chinese territory that includes all of the South China Sea and Taiwan.

According to the Globe and Mail, it is a deliberate and extremely shifty strategy, due to the very nature of passports:

“China’s official maps have long included Taiwan and the South China Sea as Chinese territory, but the act of including them in its passports could be seen as a provocation since it would require other nations to tacitly endorse those claims by affixing their official seals to the documents.

In Taiwan, a self-governed island that split from China after a civil war in 1949, ruling party and opposition lawmakers alike condemned the map. They said it could harm the warming ties the historic rivals have enjoyed since Ma Ying-jeou became President 41/2 years ago.

‘This is total ignorance of reality and only provokes disputes,’ said Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, the cabinet-level body responsible for ties with Beijing. The council said Taipei cannot accept the map.”

The China Daily Mail had more on the passport fall-out:

“Vietnam had written to China in protest against the new passports and had asked it to ‘reverse their incorrect content,’ said Luong Thanh Nghi, a spokesman for Vietnam’s foreign ministry.

‘This action by China has violated Vietnam’s sovereignty to the Paracel and Spratly islands as well as our sovereign rights and jurisdiction to related maritime areas in the South China Sea, or the East Sea,’ he told a news conference.

Malaysia and Brunei are also claimants in the dispute which overshadowed an Asian leaders’ summit in Cambodia this week. China is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with Japan.

China’s foreign ministry said in a faxed response to questions that the new passports met international standards.

‘The passports’ maps with their outlines of China are not targeting a specific country. China is willing to actively communicate with the relevant countries and promote the healthy development of Sino-foreign personnel exchanges,’ it said.

It was not clear when China began printing the new passports.”
What do you think? Should we all be a little nervous over this expansion, or is China making moves in the right direction?

Read more on China, France, America and the world beyond in the latest edition of Carnet Atlantique!

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