UPDATE: China announces it will begin boarding and turning back ships in the South China Sea.
Pushback has begun...first, the problem (Guardian):
The map, in China's newly designed passport, claims ownership of the entire South China Sea – parts of which are also claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia – as well as disputed areas on the China-India border and two Taiwanese tourist destinations.Washington also criticized the move, saying it raises tensions. A mild criticism of Beijing! Be still my beating heart.
The Philippines, Vietnam, India and Taiwan have all vehemently protested against the new microchip-equipped passport, which essentially forces neighbouring countries to validate China's position on contested regions.
Vietnam and the Philippines lodged formal complaints last week with Chinese embassies in Hanoi and Manila, respectively. India's external affairs minister, Salman Khursid, called the map "unacceptable".
"China has ignored the truth and sparked disputes," said a statement from Taiwan's mainland affairs council.
The sad part is that the ROC government on Taiwan agrees that all these things belong to "China" -- the "truth" ignored by China is that this China is the ROC, not the PRC.
Meanwhile Beijing attempted to downplay the issue...(VOA)
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei tried to downplay the issue, telling a Wednesday briefing that the Chinese passport map should not be over-interpreted. He said Beijing wants to maintain contacts with neighboring countries to promote what he calls the healthy development of personal exchanges.Reuters:
“The issue of the maps in China’s new passports should not be read too much into. China is willing to remain in touch with relevant countries and promote the healthy development of the exchange of people between China and the outside world.LOL. Anyone can recognize this classic riposte: If there's a problem, it's your problem. You guys are just too sensitive. In "response", Philippines and Vietnam have stopped stamping the passport, while India is issuing visas to Chinese showing an Indian map with the correct territorial distribution.
In response? It's curious that the passports have been out there for quite some time, but no one has said anything until now. Manila and Hanoi were willing to overlook the map until the light of publicity shone upon it. Taipei obviously doesn't care; its maps are even more expansionist than the PRC's. Still, what this map says is that negotiations with China on the issue will not be possible; it will simply remain obdurate until its demands are met. Or there's a war.....
- Donghe Bell Tower in Taipei from MKL. Had no idea this existed until I saw it on MKL's blog.
- Russia also putting a finger into the South China Sea. Returning to Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam?
- Ocean acidification is already threatening US oyster yields. How long before it threatens Taiwan's cherished oyster omelets?
- MOI supports increase in the amounts individuals can donate to political parties, since the 2014 elections are going to see enormous sums spent. And what a coincidence, both parties, KMT and DPP, are now supporting delays in the capital gains tax. Smart position -- the Finance Ministry is going to implement them, it says, meaning that it costs the two parties nothing to oppose something that is going to happen anyway.
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