As the South China Sea issues have not yet been settled between China and other Asian countries, Philippines has become the latest country to announce that it will not stamp visas on the new Chinese passports. The new Chinese passport has a map which also shows parts of the South China Sea which are claimed by Philippines.
The Philippines will instead issue a separate visa for Chinese nationals who hold the controversial passport. The Filipino Government said that the recent move is to confirm its protest claims over the Western Philippine Sea by China.
The government also explained that if the Chinese passports were stamped, it would be misunderstood that China’s claims over the sea would be acknowledged. Albert del Rosario, the foreign secretary of the country, sent Beijing a formal protest letter last week and called the passport maps an excessive declaration of maritime space in violation of international law.
The new Chinese passport has a map which has shown China’s claim over parts of the South China sea, which are also claimed in part by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan. Apart from Philippines, even Vietnam has refused to stamp the passports and Taiwan has objected to the map’s maritime borders. India has objected to the map which shows Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai as Chinese territory and is issuing Chinese citizens visas which are embossed with New Delhi’s own version of the map.