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General Overview: Global and Domestic Responses to China’s 2023 Map; By: Sruthi Sadhasivam

Updated: Sep 1, 2023


Image Courtesy: CNBCTV


Article: 26/2023


China’s Ministry of Natural Resources introduced a new map on their 30-year anniversary of the Law of Surveying and Mapping of the People’s Republic of China. The map featured Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, Taiwan, Tibet and the entire South China Sea region as China’s territory giving rise to strong condemnation from across the world.


Global Response to China’s introduction of the Standard Map, 2023


Tibet


Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, a Former Deputy speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile

Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, a former deputy speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, claimed that “Tibet was illegally occupied by China from 1959. All the borders in Himalayan region were between India and Tibet till that time. Until the Tibet issue is not resolved, the Chinese establishment will keep repeating the same thing and China’s attitude will never change,” He further claimed that the Sino-India border issue will not get resolved unless the Tibet issue gets resolved as previously it was India and Tibet that shared a border, after which China illegally occupied Tibet. He claimed that until the Tibet issue is resolved, China will continue creating problems like the Galwan, Doklam and Nathula, therefore he urged the Indian government to promote the Tibetan cause and “ask China to resolve the Tibetan issue through dialogue and negotiation.”



Dawa Tsering, Member of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile

In the wake of the Map released by China, member of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Dawa Tsering, said, “China can never be trusted.” He further stated —“China always says that it wants friendship with you but China’s malice is concealed behind its sweet talk. Never trust China and its leaders, because they can never be anybody’s friends.” He also urged, “All South Asian countries to stand against the Chinese expansionist policy.”


Yeshi Dolma, Tibetan MP in exile

Yeshi Dolma claimed that “China illegally invaded Tibet in 1959, and now it is trying to encroach the border of neighbouring country India,”



Taiwan


Jeff Liu, Taiwan foreign ministry spokesperson

In response to China’s new standard map, Mr. Jeff Liu said Taiwan was "absolutely not a part of the People's Republic of China". He further claimed that "No matter how the Chinese government twists its position on Taiwan's sovereignty, it cannot change the objective fact of our country's existence,"



Malaysia


The Malaysian Foreign Ministry said that “Malaysia does not recognise China’s claims in the South China Sea, as outlined in the ‘China Standard Map 2023 Edition,’ which covers Malaysia’s maritime area.” Malaysia claimed that the map has no binding effect on them.



Philippines



China’s map showcases a 10-dash line featuring the eastern parts of South China Sea, covering the EEZ of Philippines.


Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stated that “The 2016 Arbitral Award invalidated the nine-dashed line. It categorically stated that ‘maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the nine-dash line are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention.”


In addition, the DFA added that “The Philippines, therefore, calls on China to act responsibly and abide by its obligations under Unclos and the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award.”



Indonesia


Retno Marsudi, Indonesia's Foreign Minister

Mr. Retno Marsudi, claimed that “the drawing of territorial lines, including in the 2023 Edition of the Standard Map of China, must be in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982).” “Any line drawn and any claims made must be in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS,”



Domestic Responses to China’s introduction of Standard Map, 2023


India’s Foreign Ministry


Mr. S. Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister

Mr. Jaishankar strongly condemned China’s actions and stated that “Just by putting out maps with parts of India... this doesn’t change in anything. Our government is very clear about what our territory is. Making absurd claims does not make other people’s territories yours.”


Mr. Arindam Bagchi, India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman

Mr. Bagchi claimed that “We reject these claims as they have no basis. Such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question.”



Indian Politicians


Mallikarjun Kharge, President of Indian National Congress

Mr. Kharge claimed that “China is a habitual offender when it comes to renaming and redrawing maps of territories belonging to other countries. The Indian National Congress takes strong objection to any such illegal representation or renaming of India's territories.” He further stated that “the status quo ante before May 2020” must be restored and the Modi Government must not compromise on the same.




Mr. Sashi Tharoor, Member of the Lok Sabha

Mr. Sashi Tharoor tweeted claiming that “Yes @DrSJaishankar is right, it is an "old habit" of theirs. It's also their habit to ignore our protests. So are we going to leave it there? Is there nothing more we can do to show our displeasure? Why don't we start issuing stapled visas to Chinese passport-holders hailing from Tibet? And stop expressing our support for the One China policy?”



Rahul Gandhi, Former Member of Parliament & Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress

Mr. Rahul Gandhi claimed that “The map is a very serious issue but they have already taken land. The Prime Minister should speak about it,”


C3S Members


Commodore R S Vasan IN (Retd), Director General, Chennai Centre for China Studies (C3S)

"While the intentions of the so called standard maps are suspect, the timing on the eve of the G20 summit raises many questions . This is weaponization of cartography to unnerve both its land and maritime neighbours. Unfortunately for China, an aspirational power, going by the responses from the global responses, it is clear that China has only tripled the trust deficit and has lost the plot. There are many options for a united India to deal with this challenge and China has itself to blame for the downward spiraling of bilateral relations".


Subramanyam Sridharan, Distinguished member, C3S

"China has been performing cartographic aggression for more than a century along the Indian border, Bhutan, Nepal, the Indo-China Sea, Russia, and elsewhere. As it asks India not ‘to over-react to this ‘standard map’ as it is a ‘routine practice’, India must turn the tables and begin to release maps that depict Tibet simply as Tibet instead of current official maps of India showing Tibet as ‘People’s Republic of China – Tibet Autonomous Region’, and assign names to different portions of the South China Sea as Champa Sea (around Vietnam/Cambodia), West Philippines Sea, and the remainder as Indo-China Sea. We must then ask China not to over-react and ‘keep calm’. We must use QUAD to garner support for this nomenclature."


Dr. L V Krishnan, Former Director - Safety Research Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam

"We should ensure that places on our side of the LAC are labelled with and referred to by Indian names".


(The Overview is curatd by Ms. Sruthi Sadhasivam, Research Officer, C3S)

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