Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia protest China’s map

Statements follow India lodging strong protest over China’s “standard map” for 2023  

Updated - September 01, 2023 06:47 am IST

Published - August 31, 2023 09:16 pm IST

Army jawans walk through the snow and keep vigil in Arunachal Pradesh. File

Army jawans walk through the snow and keep vigil in Arunachal Pradesh. File | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia on August 31 released separate statements voicing their opposition to China’s new “standard map” for 2023, which has also drawn a strong protest from India.

Beijing on August 31 again defended the issuing of the map on August 28, when asked about the protests from India, Malaysia and the Philippines. The map showed within China’s borders all of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, as well as the entire South China Sea. While these were also displayed on previous versions of China’s official map, the issuing of the new map has been seen by China’s neighbours as complicating territorial disputes that are being negotiated.

“The competent authorities of China routinely publish standard maps of various types every year, which aims to make standard maps available to all sectors of society and raise public awareness of the standardised use of maps. We hope parties concerned can view it in an objective and rational light,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.

The Philippines Foreign Ministry in a statement said it “rejects” the 2023 version of China’s “standard map” and the inclusion of the so-called nine-dash line. “This latest attempt to legitimise 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 statement said.

The Malaysian government also protested the map, saying it “rejects” the map “which shows unilateral claims to Malaysia’s maritime territory” including parts of the Malaysian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Indonesia was the third ASEAN country to issue a statement, with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Thursday quoted as saying by the national Antara news agency that “the drawing of territorial lines, including in the 2023 Edition of the Standard Map of China, must be in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982).” “Any line drawn and any claims made must be in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS,” the Minister said.

India on Tuesday lodged a strong protest over the map, which External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar described as making “absurd claims” on territory.

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