By Rainier Allan Ronda/The Philippine Star - The country’s largest bookstore chain has withdrawn Chinese-made globes showing Beijing’s claims to most of the South China Sea from its shelves, a government spokesman said yesterday.
The globes were sold by National Bookstore up until Wednesday, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement.
“The National Bookstore has withdrawn all the educational globes, which reflect China’s nine-dash line encompassing the South China Sea, from its stores,” Hernandez said.
“It has taken a patriotic position to proactively support the Philippine government in advancing Philippine foreign policy objectives,” he added.
He said the decision to pull out the globes came after a dialogue with the bookstore management, which claimed they were unaware of the “misinformation” contained in the education materials.
China’s “nine-dash line” outlines its claims to virtually all of the South China Sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbors.
The government last month took China to an arbitration panel under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – a 1982 treaty signed by both countries – to demand that it declare China’s claims invalid.
China’s territorial claims overlap those of the Philippines as well as Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.
The Philippines and Vietnam have over the past two years complained of China’s increasing assertiveness in enforcing its claims, particularly around areas believed to be rich in oil and natural gas reserves.
China’s stance led to a standoff last year with the Philippines over rich fishing grounds around Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, a rocky outcrop much closer to the Philippine coast than to China’s shores.
The DFA has started meeting manufacturers and retailers of educational maps and globes that reflect China’s 9-dash line claim over the South China Sea, now called the West Philippine Sea, to correct the erroneous illustrations that are detrimental to the Philippines’ claim over islands and seas in the borders it shares with China and other neighbors.
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