No stamping of visas on Chinese e-passport fortifies PHL protest vs China

November 28, 2012 10:58 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Nov. 28 — Malacanang on Wednesday said that the Philippine government will no longer stamp entry visas for Chinese Nationals using the new Chinese e-passports, which feature a map of Beijing's claim to almost all of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a statement, said the Philippines, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) "will no longer stamp its visas on the Chinese e-passport."

Instead, he said the DFA "will stamp it on a separate visa application in order to avoid the Philippines being misconstrued as legitimizing the 9-dash line claim of China."

Through this action, the government said: "The Philippines reinforces its protest against China's excessive claim over almost the entire South China Sea including the West Philippine Sea."

The Philippines' action is similar to the one taken by Vietnamese immigration officers who refused to stamp entry visas on Chinese e-passports.

The Philippines, which claims part of the Spratlys, has sent a formal protest letter to Beijing last week, calling the maps "an excessive declaration of maritime space in violation of international law."

The South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) is strategically significant, home to some of the world's most important shipping lanes and believed to be rich in resources.

Besides the Philippines, other claimants are Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Taiwan. (PNA)

RMA/LGI

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