Beijing's S. China Sea rivals protest passport map

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Associated Press

Posted on November 23, 2012 at 5:03 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 23 at 5:33 AM

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China is ticking off some of its neighbors after printing new passports with a map showing the entire South China Sea and even Taiwan as belonging to China.

Inside the new passports is an outline of China printed in the upper left corner, which includes Taiwan and the sea, hemmed in by 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.

China's official maps have long included Taiwan and the South China Sea as Chinese territory, but the act of including those in its passports could be seen as a provocation.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council says, "This is total ignorance of reality and only provokes disputes."

The foreign secretary of the Philippines says he has sent a note to the Chinese Embassy that his country "strongly protests" the image.

The Vietnamese government says it also has sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, demanding that Beijing remove the "erroneous content" printed in the passport.

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