The US today said it does not endorse the new “controversial” Chinese map on its passport which depicts certain disputes territories as its own, causing a major diplomatic row in the region including with India.

“No, it is not an endorsement. Our position, as you know on the South China Sea continues to be that these issues need to be negotiated among the stakeholders, among ASEAN and China, and you know a picture on a passport doesn’t change that,” State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.

Responding to questions on this issue, Nuland said her understanding is that there are certain basic international standards that have to be met in a passport.

“You know stray maps that they include aren’t part of it,” she said.

“As a technical legal matter, that map doesn’t have any bearing on whether the passport is valid for US visa issuance or for entry into the United States...,” she said.

“I’m not sure whether we’ve had a chance to have that discussion with the Chinese, frankly, the first time this issue came to the attention of some of us was over the weekend when the passports started being rejected in various countries,” she said.

“So presumably from the perspective that it is considered provocative by some of those countries, we’ll have a conversation about it, but in terms of the technical issue of whether the passport is...,” she said.

“I would expect that we’ll probably have a conversation about the fact that this is considered difficult by some of the countries,” Nuland said.

Nuland said the US continues to monitor all Chinese military developments very carefully.

“This is another in the category of our regular requests that China be as transparent as it can about its military capabilities, and intentions. And we regularly encourage China, both privately, and publicly to use its military capabilities, including this new aircraft carrier, in a manner that is conducive to maintaining peace, and security, and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” she said in response to a question on the latest development on the Chinese military front.

“I think we’ve made clear through the various — strengthening of our security support throughout the region that we will continue to support our allies, as we deem necessary, and to take appropriate steps,” she said.

“It is incumbent on China as it increases its own military investments, that it be more transparent than it has been about what it’s spending the money on, and to make sure that its capabilities can clearly be seen as a force for peace,” Nuland said

(This article was published on November 27, 2012)
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