In a move that has drawn attention and sparked controversy, China has unveiled its “standard map” for the year 2023, reinforcing its territorial claims over contentious regions, including Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin.
Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin Featured in China’s Map
The recently released map highlights China’s territorial assertions by prominently featuring Arunachal Pradesh as part of its territory, labeling it as South Tibet. Additionally, Aksai Chin, which was occupied by China during the 1962 conflict, is depicted as belonging to China. Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea are also depicted within Chinese borders on this map.
Maritime Ambitions Reflected
China’s maritime ambitions are also evident in the map, as it incorporates the controversial nine-dash line. This assertion lays claim to a significant portion of the South China Sea. This move is noteworthy as several other nations, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei, have competing claims over different areas of the South China Sea.
Key Release Date and Context
The timing of this map’s release is significant. It was unveiled during the celebration of Surveying and Mapping Publicity Day and the National Mapping Awareness Publicity Week in Deqing county, Zhejiang province.
Diplomatic Interactions and India’s Concerns
This development follows a recent meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the BRICS Summit in South Africa. During their conversation, President Xi emphasized the need to enhance China-India relations for the mutual benefit of both countries and their peoples. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra noted that Prime Minister Modi had raised concerns about unresolved issues along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.
China’s Vision for Geographic Information
Wu Wenzhong, the chief planner of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources, emphasized the vital role that surveying, mapping, and geographic information play in various aspects of the nation’s development, including the management of natural resources and the advancement of ecology and civilization.
A History of Territorial Disputes
China’s territorial claims have been a subject of contention with several neighboring countries. The Chinese Communist Party, led by Xi Jinping, has employed various tactics, sometimes deceptive, to assert control over disputed territories. This expansionist approach has garnered criticism for violating international norms.
Consistent Claims and Reactions
Notably, China has laid claims to parts of India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that these areas were historically part of greater Tibet. In April of this year, China controversially “renamed” multiple Indian locations, including mountain peaks, rivers, and residential areas. These actions are not unprecedented; in both 2017 and 2021, China’s Civil Affairs Ministry attempted similar renaming tactics, leading to diplomatic confrontations. India has consistently denounced China’s expansionist endeavors and reiterated that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, dismissing any attempts to alter the established reality.