The Philippines doesn’t recognize Beijing’s latest standard map showing its expansive South China Sea claims, joining opposition from India and Malaysia.
(Bloomberg) — The Philippines doesn’t recognize Beijing’s latest standard map showing its expansive South China Sea claims, joining opposition from India and Malaysia.
“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 Philippines’ foreign affairs department said in a statement on Thursday.
The Philippines’ rejection followed a similar move by Malaysia on Wednesday, with the latter refusing to recognize China’s unilateral claims including over waters in Sabah and Sarawak. India also lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing over the map which it said shows China claiming Indian territory in the Himalayas.
Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims in the South China Sea, apart from Malaysia and the Philippines.
Responding to the Philippines’ latest move, China said it releases different standard maps as part of an annual routine “to educate the public” in using maps according to rules. “We hope that relevant sides can see that in an objective and rational way,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing in Beijing on Thursday.
Manila called on Beijing “to act responsibly” and abide by its obligations under UNCLOS and the 2016 international arbitral award which invalidated China’s nine-dashed line. Beijing’s representation on the maritime map effectively claims almost all of South China Sea as its territory.
In rejecting China’s latest map, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs cited the seven-year-old arbitral decision stating that Beijing’s sea claims are “without lawful effect” and “contrary” to the convention. Tensions between the two nations have recently heightened following encounters in contested waters, with Manila protesting earlier this month the use of water cannons on its ships.
–With assistance from Andreo Calonzo and Allen Wan.
(Adds comment from China’s ministry of foreign affairs in fifth paragraph.)
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