New Delhi, August 29, 2023: China’s Ministry of Natural Resources revealed its updated “standard map” on August 28, showcasing assertive territorial claims that have ignited international attention.
The map, introduced during the celebration of Surveying and Mapping Publicity Day and National Mapping Awareness Publicity Week in Deqing county, Zhejiang province, includes contested regions such as Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin.
The depiction designates Arunachal Pradesh as “South Tibet” and incorporates Aksai Chin, seized during the 1962 conflict, within Chinese territory. Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea are also portrayed as part of China’s sovereign dominion.
The inclusion of China’s expansive nine-dash line claim asserts control over significant portions of the South China Sea, leading to tensions with nations like Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei, who contest these waters.
Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra emphasized the significance of peace and stability along the Line of Actual Control during Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping’s recent meeting at the BRICS Summit in South Africa. Kwatra underlined that “observing and respecting the LAC are essential for the normalization of the India-China relationship.”
Wu Wenzhong, chief planner of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources, highlighted the role of surveying, mapping, and geographic information in national development. He stated, “The next step will be to accelerate the application of geographic information data… in the development of the digital economy.” This encompasses areas like location-based services, precision agriculture, platform economy, and intelligent connected vehicles.
Amidst these developments, concerns have risen about China’s expansionist strategies. Notably, China had renamed 11 Indian locations earlier this year, a move characterized as “deceitful tactics” by critics. Arindam Bagchi of India’s Ministry of External Affairs stressed, “Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of India,” condemning China’s renaming endeavors and asserting India’s sovereignty.
China’s latest map revision underscores the ongoing complexity of regional disputes and the need for diplomatic engagement to mitigate tensions.