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New China directive a curtailment of maritime navigation – VP Binay

By OVP Media
December 4, 2012

MANILA  –  Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today asked the Chinese government to officially clarify a supposed order for Chinese authorities to board foreign vessels in the West Philippine Sea, calling it a possible curtailment of maritime navigation.

He also backed a move by the government not to stamp visas on new Chinese passports which show islands in the disputed area as part of China.

“Our President has asked for an explanation. What does this policy of boarding and inspecting all ships in the area really mean? It appears to be contrary to the concept of free maritime navigation,” he said.

He also defended the decision not to stamp visas on the new Chinese passports, as this would be equivalent to recognizing China’s claim on the islands included in the map reprinted on the passport.

“We are not stamping our visas on these passports because that would be tantamount to recognizing their claim,” he said, adding that other countries who are claimants to the area have also done the same.

China recently issued new electronic passports bearing a map that outlines its supposed territories in the West Philippine Sea through the so-called nine-dash line, a U-shaped map that covers nearly 90 percent of the waters and overlaps with the sovereign territories of its Southeast Asian neighbors including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

The new law enacted by Hainan province, meanwhile, will enable Chinese authorities to board, inspect, detain, confiscate, immobilize and expel, foreigners who will be caught sailing through their supposed territory.

Waters in the jurisdiction of Hainan province is being claimed by China, including virtually the entire West Philippine Sea under the nine-dash line.

The Hainan law is supposed to take effect in January 2013.