World

Beijing’s South China Sea rivals protest passport map

TAIPEI, Taiwan — China has enraged several neighbors with a few dashes on a map, printed in its newly revised passports that show it staking its claim on the entire South China Sea and even Taiwan.

Inside the passports, an outline of China printed in the upper left corner includes Taiwan and the sea, hemmed in by the dashes. The change highlights China’s longstanding claim on the South China Sea in its entirety, though parts of the waters also are claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, and Malaysia.

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China’s official maps have long included Taiwan and the South China Sea as Chinese territory, but the act of including them in its passports could be seen as a provocation since it would require other nations to tacitly endorse those claims by affixing their official seals to the documents.

Ruling party and opposition lawmakers alike condemned the map in Taiwan, a self-governed island that split from China after a civil war in 1949. They said it could harm the warming ties the historic rivals have enjoyed since Ma Ying-jeou became president 4½ years ago.

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‘‘This is total ignorance of reality and only provokes disputes,’’ said Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, the Cabinet-level body responsible for ties with Beijing.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters in Manila that he sent a note to the Chinese Embassy that his country ‘‘strongly protests’’ the image.

Associated Press

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