Beijing: In the midst of maritime tensions with several neighbours, China for the first time has published maps of over 130 islands of South China Sea as well as the disputed islands with Japan linking them with the Chinese mainland on an equal scale.
The new vertical-format maps of China, published by Sinomaps Press, include more than 130 islands and islets in the South China Sea, most of which have not been featured on previous maps of China, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASMG) said.
Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan strongly contest China`s claims on the South China Sea islands.
Publication of Map with Chinese claims in e-passports have already drawn strong reactions from Vietnam and Philippines.
The old maps, which were in horizontal format, only featured bigger islands such as the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands called by Vietnam as Paracel islands.
The new vertical maps have marked clearly the major South China Sea islands and demonstrated their geographic relations with surrounding island countries as well as surrounding islands and islets, Xu Gencai, chief editor of Sinomaps Press said.
In the bottom-left corner, there is also a zoomed illustration of the Diaoyu Islands called Senkaku islands by Japan, displaying their positional relations and those of their affiliated islets with the Chinese mainland and Taiwan These were illustrated in the bottom-right corner at half the scale used for the Chinese mainland, Zhou Beiyan, editor of the new maps told Xinhua news agency.
The new maps will not be available to the public until the end of January, the Xinhua report said.
"The maps will be very significant in enhancing Chinese people`s awareness of national territory, safeguarding China`s marine rights and interests and manifesting China`s political diplomatic stance," Xu said.