From the Himalayas to the South China Sea, China’s expansive territorial claims have once again ignited controversy, with neighboring countries voicing strong objections to Beijing’s latest “standard map” released in 2023.

The map, produced by the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources, features a U-shaped line that reinforces China’s sovereignty claims over almost the entire South China Sea, a region vital for trade and resources. This development has escalated concerns over potential clashes in the already contentious area.

Revised Border Lines: A Bold Statement by China

China’s new map, as opposed to previous versions that featured a “nine-dash line” encircling the South China Sea, introduces a “ten-dash line.” This revised demarcation extends eastward, encroaching on the territory of Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own. Taipei, however, reaffirmed its independent status, asserting that no matter how China interprets the situation, the island nation remains a distinct and sovereign entity.

Shortly after, the map drew swift and stern reactions from multiple regional nations, particularly those embroiled in territorial disputes with China. The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and again, Taiwan, all of which have ongoing disagreements with China over territory, have vehemently rejected this new “standard” map.

Philippines: Strong Denunciation and Call for International Law Adherence

The Philippine Foreign Ministry issued a statement denouncing the map, emphasizing that it lacks any basis in international law and conflicts with the 2016 ruling by an international tribunal in The Hague, which rejected Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.