US does not endorse ‘stray’ Chinese passport maps
Washington: The new Chinese map printed in the nation’s revised passport, that stakes claims to whole of South China Sea and many other disputed areas, has not been endorsed by America, the US State Department said on Tuesday.
The maps printed in millions of newly revised Chinese passports have stoked the already existing territorial disputes between China and its southeast Asian neighbours including India.
The new Chinese passport maps show Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) -the regions of Indo-China border dispute as a part of China.
Also, the maps stake claim to several disputed border areas with Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.
The Diaoyu or Senkaku islands, which have been the reason of contention between Japan and China were also marked as Chinese territory in the controversial maps.
This latest Chinese move has stirred a diplomatic row infuriating the involved nations which worry that other countries stamping the new Chinese passports would be indirectly endorsing the map.
But rebutting any such fears, the US has minced no words in saying that it does not endorse such “stray maps”.
Talking to reporters at a news conference, US State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland said, "No, it is not an endorsement. Our position, as you know on the South China Sea continues to be that these issues need to be negotiated among the stakeholders, among ASEAN and China, and you know a picture on a passport doesn't change that".
Nuland further said that there are certain basic international standards that have to be met in a passport.
"You know stray maps that they include aren't part of it," she said.
"As a technical legal matter, that map doesn't have any bearing on whether the passport is valid for US visa issuance or for entry into the United States...," she said.
"I'm not sure whether we've had a chance to have that discussion with the Chinese, frankly, the first time this issue came to the attention of some of us was over the weekend when the passports started being rejected in various countries," she said.
"So presumably from the perspective that it is considered provocative by some of those countries, we'll have a conversation about it, but in terms of the technical issue of whether the passport is...," she said.
"I would expect that we'll probably have a conversation about the fact that this is considered difficult by some of the countries," Nuland said.
With PTI Inputs