• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 4:42am
NewsChina Insider

China asserts sovereignty over disputed South China Sea with new vertical map

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, 1:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 1:38am

China has published its first official vertical national map incorporating the vast South China Sea, with equal weight given to both land and sea, in its latest move emphasising its claims of sovereignty over the disputed waters.

Previous official maps of China were horizontal and focused on the country’s vast land area. And the country’s sea areas and islands in the South China Sea were often featured on a smaller scale, in a separate box-out in a bottom corner of the map.

In the new map, which went on sale on Monday, the islands and claimed waters in the South China Sea have been given the same amount of weight as China’s land areas, and are featured on the same scale in one complete map. The South China Sea area is more prominent in the new map and is marked out by a nine-dash demarcation line. China claims all the islands and their adjacent waters encompassed by the line are part of its sovereignty.

China’s survey and mapping administration has approved the map published by Hunan Map Press, which said the publication was of “great significance in safeguarding the nation’s water sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“[This helps to] correct misconceptions that territories carry different weights, and fosters a raised territorial awareness and marine consciousness with the public,” editor-in-chief Lei Yixun of the press was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

The vast South China Sea, rich in oil, gas and fisheries, is surrounded by a host of Southeast Asian countries.

China's nine-dash line encompasses about 90 per cent of the Sea, while the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan each claims parts of the waters.

This isn’t the first time that Beijing has used maps to assert its ownership of the South China Sea. The latest Chinese passport that has been issued since 2012 incorporates a map that highlights almost the entire South China Sea as being part of Chinese territory. This step sparked fierce protests from China’s neighbours, most notably Vietnam and the Philippines.

Lee Yunglung, a professor at the South China Sea Institute of Xiamen University, said the new map may have been published to test the reactions of China’s neighbours.

“The fact that the map is published by a local publication house enables Beijing to dodge the potential strong resistance from its neighbours. At the same time it paves the way for the government to promote the usage of the map in the future if the backlash isn’t too severe,” Lee said.

He added the move had multiple advantages for the government.

“Domestically speaking, [the map] not only promotes the public’s territorial awareness, it also serves as evidence to strengthen and consolidate Beijing’s territorial claim.

And internationally “it asserts to neighbouring nations that the Chinese government is determined to weight its water territories equally with its land,” he added.

“It implies China could potentially react to sea disputes with the same degree of intensity as if it was dealing with Tibet or Xinjiang separatists.”


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

What about the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea? There must be some evidence that all these belong to China, actually, somehow, based on a historic whatever. Isn't China's aircraft carrier "born" in the Ukraine? I think that makes the Black Sea also part of China. But they could have stretched their sovereigninty over the Pacific Ocean up to the shore lines of San Francisco and Sidney, at least.
Sorry...can't put any credence in an oceanic map published in landlocked Hunan by some dingleberry who wears his trousers about as high up as Jiang Zemin...
Love it! We should include the Milky way!
Oh there's a map now, makes it more believable. LOL
Please give just one country that accepts this stupid map
...and then a 200 mile exclusive economic zone from each atoll or man made island....How do you not understand your own country's intentions?
Marcus T Anthony
The moon is, and always has been an integral part of the glorious motherland since Zheng He sailed there in ancient times... And here's the map... Not so much horizontal as vertical...
Historical facts, even if true, relating to discovery and exploration in the Age of Discovery (early 15th century until the 17th century) or even earlier, have no bearing whatsoever in the resolution of maritime disputes under UNCLOS. Neither Spain nor Portugal can ever revive their 15th century claims to ownership of all the oceans and seas of our planet, despite the 1481 Papal Bull confirming the division of the then undiscovered world between Spain and Portugal. The sea voyages of the Chinese Imperial Admiral Zheng He, from 1405- 1433, can never be the basis of any claim to the South China Sea. Neither can historical names serve as basis for claiming the oceans and seas. The South China Sea was not even named by the Chinese but by European navigators and cartographers. The Song and Ming Dynasties called the South China Sea the “Giao Chi Sea,” and the Qing Dynasty, the Republic of China as well as the People’s Republic of China call it the “South Sea” without the word “China.” India cannot claim the Indian Ocean, and Mexico cannot claim the Gulf of Mexico, in the same way that the Philippines cannot claim the Philippine Sea, just because historically these bodies of water have been named after these countries. Neither can ancient conquests be invoked under international law to claim territories. Greece cannot claim Egypt, Iran, Turkey and the land stretching up to Pakistan just because Alexander the Great conquered that part of the world from 334-323 BC.
They forgot to keep going more vertical until it wraps around the earth. Must have ran out of paper. Please try again tomorrow.
The CCP China is 64 years old. They have no legitimacy to claim anything from past imperial dynasties based on "history". Those dynasties lost it all through internal weakness, selfish corruption and stupidity.



SCMP.com Account