Japan joins India in rejecting the new “standard map” of China

Japan has joined India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan to lodge protests against China over its new “standard map” to include the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea as part of its territory.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told the media in Tokyo Tuesday that Japan has made strong representations to China through diplomatic channels over the new map released by Beijing last month.

Tokyo urged Beijing to scrap the map because it contained a description based on China’s unilateral claims to the Senkaku Islands in southern Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, Matsuno was quoted as saying by Japanese media.

The map describes the Senkaku Islands as the Diaoyu Islands, which is the Chinese name for the islands. Beijing claims sovereignty over the Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea.

Matsuno said the islands “are undoubtedly an integral part of Japanese territory, both historically and under international law.”

He added that Japan “responds in a calm and firm manner, based on its policy of standing firm in protecting people’s lives and property, as well as the country’s land, sea and airspace.”

In response to Japan’s protest, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning rejected Tokyo’s claim to the islands. Mao said at a press conference on Wednesday that the Diaoyu Islands and its neighboring islands are part of China’s territory.

“It is reasonable for China to include it in our standard maps. We do not accept the relevant statements,” she said.

Earlier, the governments of the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan joined India in rejecting China’s new national map, issuing strongly worded statements accusing Beijing of claiming its territory.

China published a new version of its national map last week to correct what Beijing has referred to in the past as problematic maps that it claims distort its territorial boundaries.

India lodged a strong protest with China over the so-called “standard map” claiming sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin, and asserted that such steps would only complicate the resolution of the boundary issue.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also dismissed China’s allegations as “unfounded”. Responding to the Chinese move, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said: “Just making ridiculous claims does not make other people’s lands your own.”

The Philippine government has also criticized China’s 2023 edition of the so-called Standard Map which still shows swathes of Philippine landmarks in the West Philippine Sea.

The Malaysian government said it would send a note of protest to China over the latter’s claims on the South China Sea as outlined in the 2023 release of the China Standard Map, which also covers Malaysia’s maritime areas.

Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said last Wednesday that Malaysia does not recognize China’s claims in the South China Sea, as indicated in the China Standard Map 2023 Edition, which also includes Malaysia’s maritime areas.

The Vietnamese government also criticized China’s recent provocation. Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday criticized China’s new “standard map” by saying that Taiwan has never been ruled by the People’s Republic of China.

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