[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Philippines will not stamp new China passport

Tensions continue to rise over new travel document showing vast portions of South China Sea as Chinese territory.
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2012 07:46
More than a half-dozen Asian nations are angry over the new passport design. [Reuters]

The Philippines has become the latest country to say it will not stamp visas in the new Chinese passport because it contains a map showing parts of the South China Sea, claimed by the Philippines, as Chinese territory.

The Philippines will instead issue a seperate visa form for Chinese nationals holding the controversial passport, according to the foreign ministry.

The Filipino government said that this move reinforces its protest about claims over the western Philippine Sea. It also argued that stamping the passport could be "misconstrued" as "legitimising" China's claims. The foreign secretary, Albert del Rosario, sent Beijing a formal protest letter last week, calling the passport maps "an excessive declaration of maritime space in violation of international law".

The new Chinese passport contains a map that suggests a Chinese claim over vast parts of the South China Sea, which are also claimed in part by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Vietnam has also refused to stamp the passports, while Taiwan has objected to the map's maritime borders. India, angered that the map claims their state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai China as Chinese territory, is issuing Chinese citizens visas embossed with New Delhi's own version of the map.

The United States is not taking sides in the territorial disputes. The state department has said it wants to ensure safe martime traffic in the region, and will "raise concerns" with Beijing over the map.

The Chinese government has responded to the ongoing row by stating that countries should not "read too much into" the maps.

257

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.