Beijing’s claims to nearly all the South China Sea are embossed in its latest passports, based on what it calls long-established “historical facts” and what Chinese analysts say is Western imperial precedent.
Beijing has grown increasingly assertive in recent years in claiming islands and waters even without effective control of them — in some cases hundreds of kilometres from the Chinese mainland and close to rival claimants’ coasts.
The latest front on the simmering dispute is China’s new passport, which shows a map of the country including almost all of the strategically significant sea, the site of key shipping routes and possibly significant petroleum reserves.
It is also claimed wholly or in part by Vietnam and the Philippines — both of which have refused to stamp the Chinese travel documents — Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Washington described the passports as unhelpful, while Jakarta called them “counterproductive”.
Officials in Beijing and state media justify the South China Sea claim by pointing to “ample historical facts and evidence” about the area, while remaining ambiguous on what these are.
The claims were formulated in 1947 by the then Nationalist Government in a map with a nine-section, U-shaped dmarcation encompassing the Paracel Islands east of Vietnam, the Spratlys west of the Philippines, and other uninhabited features such as the Scarborough Shoal. It is believed to be the first time the “nine-dash line” was printed on an official Chinese map.
China row: Japan car production falls
Tokyo: Three of Japan’s biggest carmakers said on Thursday that output in China slumped again last month as they continue to feel the effects of a bitter territorial dispute between Tokyo and Beijing.
Toyota, the world’s best-selling auto maker in the first six months of the year, produced 61 percent fewer cars in China year-on-year in October, it said, while Nissan cut output by 44 per cent and Honda by 54 per cent. The figures follow earlier data showing all three companies had seen large falls in sales in China over the month as a consumer boycott of Brand Japan lashed two-way trade.
Although in percentage terms Nissan was the least badly affected of the three, its exposure to China is greater, meaning its absolute production fell further. Toyota made just 30,600 vehicles over the month, Honda produced 26,302 and Nissan 61,360. AFP