News / Asia

Vietnam Avoids Stamping Controversial Chinese Passports

A Chinese man holds up a Chinese passport with details on a page that shows dashes which include the South China Sea as part of the Chinese territory outside a passport office in Beijing, Nov. 23, 2012.
A Chinese man holds up a Chinese passport with details on a page that shows dashes which include the South China Sea as part of the Chinese territory outside a passport office in Beijing, Nov. 23, 2012.
Marianne Brown
A new passport design issued by China is causing a stir in Asia. The passport features a map that includes territory claimed by other countries. It includes the South China Sea, which is also claimed by Vietnam. Officials are finding their own way around the problem.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, but Vietnam and four other governments have claims in the region, including the Spratly Islands, which are believed to sit atop mineral deposits.

The passports have caused a stir in the region, prompting protests from several countries, including Vietnam.

Colonel Luong Van Son, deputy director of Lao Cai provincial border police says new passport holders are allowed to enter the country, but officials issue visas on separate pieces of paper.

Luong says this was a “light” approach to the problem agreed upon by government ministries and, so far, China had not reacted. He added the passport design is a “serious violation” of Vietnamese sovereignty and is not recognized by the international community.

Last week, a spokesman for Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Luong Thanh Nghi, protested the new passport design.

He says the ministry had sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi objecting to the move and asked China to cancel the passport. The Philippines and Taiwan also objected.

In Manila Monday, Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez says authorities there are still accepting the passports for visa applications, for now.

"What we can say is we are considering different options as far as follow-up action. I don't know what are those options," he said.

The passport also includes territory claimed by India. In response, officials at the Indian Embassy in Beijing stamped Chinese visas with a map embossed with New Delhi’s own map.

Observers say the move is part of an ongoing trend of China asserting territorial claims in the area. China’s Foreign Ministry says the map of the sea printed in the new passports is not targeted at any specific countries.

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Comments
     
by: Giovanni Hynson from: Austin, Texas
November 27, 2012 12:47 AM
In Texas, we would just stamp a middle finger over the mainland of China.
Problem solved.


by: albert from: canada
November 26, 2012 3:56 PM
Congratulations Vietnam. I hope that other countries also refuse to accept the validity of the new Chinese passport, a small step against the bully China who wants to dominate the world.


by: Brandon from: USA
November 26, 2012 1:04 PM
China's more provocative policies are causing more internal division than actual international harm. The majority of the Chinese population is more interested in issues such as health care and corruption than expansionism. Pursuing a belligerent foreign policy will only hasten the inevitable end of Communist leadership and the separation of North and South China

In Response

by: Eddy from: Canada
November 27, 2012 8:38 PM
Yes Chinese population are interested in issue such as health care and corruption but without expansion, where is China going to get the resources and $$$ to provide for the people? One great thing about Chinese culture is that when everybody is rich people might not be the nicest to each other but China unites when foreigners are involved.


by: sunny tran from: US
November 26, 2012 12:52 PM
There is a very simple solution to this. Countries of disputed territories should create new stamp with map of land/islands/sea that they think belong to them, and use it to stamp Chinese passport. See how they like it.


by: Le Chinh Vu from: Australia
November 26, 2012 8:15 AM
"China’s Foreign Ministry says the map of the sea printed in the new passports is not targeted at any specific countries." What China's Foreign Ministry is saying is that China is targeting the whole world!

In Response

by: Ted from: Houston, Tx
November 29, 2012 8:02 AM
I have just returned from a trip in West Bank, what does "international community" say about this?

In Response

by: Jerry Mitchell from: USA
November 27, 2012 9:31 AM
This was my first thought. China rallies citizens in support of take over, chastises others at ASEAN conference. Says not to internationize dispute, Then prints THIS. China is STILL a bad actor on the international stage. NO country in the World will respect them if they don't start respecting others.

In Response

by: Zhang Jie
November 26, 2012 1:21 PM
Ahaha, that's kind of funny. Because you're Vietnamese and all. Of course, your comments are totally unbiased.


by: Le Chinh Vu from: Australia
November 26, 2012 7:43 AM
Where on earth can one find such a greedy and blatant claim? Beijing administration thinks the international community has no brain? Think again!

This is a stupid act! It damages even further its already bad reputation worldwide.

More dangerously, the Communist Party of China has been fostering the extreme nationalism within Chinese people. It has been deceiving Chinese people, leading them into believing an unfounded belief that China owns 80 percent of the East Sea!!!

Who can trust China now?

In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
November 27, 2012 7:01 AM
Neon,
Either you're Chinese or a stupid liberal American. When China dominates all of Asia, they will blockade the U.S. out of Asia.
Vietnamese worldwide know to depend on ourselves first to defend our sovereignty. We Vietnamese have learned to never depend on any foreign country. Yes, I am Vietnamese.
China has conflict with all countries that it borders, Japan, Russia, Phillipines, Tibet( an occupied country), Indonesia, Malaysia. The U.S. knows how crucial Vietnam is to stop China's expansion. Furthermore,the world does not recognize the cow shaped tongue of China that is hungry for U.S.

In Response

by: Neon from: Austin, TX
November 26, 2012 1:43 PM
And what exactly do you plan to do besides depending on the US to assist you? The US is only using you small countries to stir up conflict to justify our pivot. And besides, stop trolling. In terms of "international community" only the US cares about what happens in that area. India kinda cares, but doesn't really do much to show it.

In Response

by: SwimFan from: US
November 26, 2012 10:38 AM
Aren't you Vietnamese?

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