By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | Feb. 15, 2013 at 12:01am
The Foreign Affairs Department on Thursday confirmed that China manufactured “educational globes” containing its nine-dash line claim in the West Philippine Sea, which has found its way into a major bookstore company in the country.
The nine-dash line, is a U-shaped map that covers nearly 90 percent of the South China Sea and overlaps with the sovereign territories of its Asian neighbors Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
The globes were being sold by National Book Store but its sale was immediately stopped after the DFA informed the store management of the ongoing territorial conflict between the Philippines and China.
Department spokesperson Raul Hernandez said that NBC may have been unaware of the conflict and its implications in the country’s foreign policy.
“We were able to validate that these globes which reflects China’s nine-dash-line claim encompassing the South China Sea are indeed being retailed by establishments that are totally unaware of the maritime disputes between the PH and China,” Hernandez said in a press conference.
Hernandez said they held a dialogue with the management of the bookstore on Thursday. By early Friday, the bookstore withdrew all China-made educational globes from their store branches.
Hernandez lauded NBC for taking “a patriotic position” to pro-actively support the government in advancing its foreign policy objectives.
“Basically, they (NBC management) are now aware of this issue, and they have given us some confidence that they will proactively support a collective action in this regard,” he added.
The department immediately addressed the issue after “netizens” or groups of Filipinos on social networking sites such as Facebook, called their attention on the sale of the globes.
When asked if the Philippines would protest the importation of China’s nine-dash maps, Hernandez said the department was considering the option, since Manila had already brought its dispute with China before the Arbitral Tribunal.
“We can file if there are actions that we need for us to file a protest,” he said.
The “educational globes” issue was the latest irritant between the Philippines and China on the West Philippine Sea issue. The Chinese had earlier issued a new e-passport stamped with the same nine-dash-line map on its pages, and also declared new regulations allowing its naval forces patrol boats to “board, search and seize” foreign vessels entering their supposed territories in the disputed sea.
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