China has unveiled a new official map of the country giving greater emphasis to its claims on the South China Sea, making the disputed waters and its numerous islets and reefs more clearly seem like national territory.
Previous maps published by the government already include China’s claims to most of the South China Sea, but in a little box normally in a bottom corner to enable the rest of the country to fit on the map.
The new, longer map dispenses with the box, and shows continental China along with its self-declared sea boundary in the South China Sea – stretching right down to the coasts of Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – on one complete map.
“The islands of the South China Sea on the traditional map of China are shown in a cut-away box, and readers cannot fully, directly know the full map of China,” the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said on its website.
Old maps make the South China Sea’s islands appear more like an appendage rather than an integral part of the country, which the new map makes “obvious with a single glance”, the report added.
“This vertical map of China has important meaning for promoting citizens’ better understanding of … maintaining (our) maritime rights and territorial integrity,” an unnamed official with the map’s publishers told the newspaper.