Philippines hits China over ‘10-dash line’ map

Paterno Esmaquel II
'It is precisely such ambitious expansionism that is causing the tensions in the South China Sea,' Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose says

NEW MAP. A new Chinese map shows a 10-dash line to claim virtually the entire South China Sea. Screen grab from news.xinhuanet.com/Image edited by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines criticized China on Wednesday, June 25, for publishing a new map that expands Beijing’s claim over the South China Sea by using a 10-dash line as demarcation.

The map deviates from the usual 9-dash line that China uses to claim virtually the entire South China Sea, including parts claimed by the Philippines as the West Philippine Sea.

In an interview on ANC, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Charles Jose said the publication of the new map “shows China’s unreasonably expansive claim that is clearly contrary to international law,” particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“It is precisely such ambitious expansionism that is causing the tensions in the South China Sea,” he added. (READ: Philippines’ top diplomat hits China for ‘expansion agenda’)

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, for his part, said the publication of the map “does not promote the cause of regional stability.”

The government made these statements after China’s state-run Xinhua News published a photo taken on Monday, June 23, that “shows a newly issued vertical atlas of China by Hunan map publishing house.”

“Islands in the South China Sea share the same scale with the mainland and are better shown than traditional maps,” the photo caption on Xinhua said.

Studying new protest

In the face of this 10-dash line map, the Philippines is studying the need to file a new protest against China, Jose said in a text message to Rappler.

The Southeast Asian country, in any case, has “already registered with the United Nations our objection to China’s 9-dash line claim.”

“We should also take note that no other country recognizes China’s – well, previously – 9-dash line claim. So publishing a new map does not make the territories that they claim, theirs,” Jose told ANC.

The Philippines has also filed a historic case against China over its 9-dash line.

In its case before an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Philippines argues that the 9-dash line contradicts UNCLOS, the so-called Constitution for the Oceans.

The UNCLOS mandates a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from a coastal state’s baselines, or edges, within which the state can exclusively use marine resources. China’s 9-dash line encroaches on the Philippines’ EEZ.

Philippine news outlets have reported on China’s 10-dash line map since as early as July 2013.

In a note verbale dated June 7, 2013, the DFA told the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines that it “protests the reference to those dash lines as China’s national boundaries,” according to a report by GMA News in 2013.

Chinese maps used vs China

China, for its part, has used its ancient maps to prove its claim over the South China Sea.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Philippine Supreme Court, however, has used China’s favorite pieces of evidence against the Asian giant itself. (READ: Top Philippine judge uses Chinese maps vs China)

In a speech at the De La Salle University in Manila, Carpio said China’s ancient maps dating back to 960 AD show that its territory “never included” the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

“There is not a single ancient Chinese map, whether made by Chinese or foreigners, showing that the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal were ever part of Chinese territory. To repeat, in all these ancient Chinese maps, the southernmost Chinese territory has always been Hainan Island,” Carpio said.

Vietnam, another country that claims parts of the South China Sea, slams China for its 9-dash line. (READ: ‘Brave, patriotic’ Vietnam challenges China)

In an interview with Rappler, Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Truong Trieu Duong criticized the 9-dash line as a “newly born idea” that “has been rejected by almost all countries, all claimants.” – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.