Philippines refuses to stamp on controversial Chinese passports
Central News Agency
Manila, Nov. 28 (CNA) The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs announced Wednesday that it will not affix its seal on new Chinese passports in which a controversial map indicates China's claim of sovereignty over the entire South China Sea.
The department said in a statement that, in protest, the Philippines will no longer stamp on the visa page of Chinese passports.
Earlier in the day, Edwin Lacierda, spokesman for the Philippine Office of the President, said at a press conference that the Philippines will provisionally recognize the passport of China, but will continue to negotiate with China on the issue.
Hours after the announcement, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued the statement, announcing that immigration officials will not put the entry/exit chop on Chinese passports but instead will stamp on another paper.
A background motif in China's newly designed passport shows the disputed territories in South China Sea that are also claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia, as well as disputed areas on the China-India border and two Taiwanese tourist destinations.
The Philippines lodged a complaint Nov. 21 with China's Embassy in Manila, saying China's inclusion of the Philippines' land and sea territories on its passport has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
(By Emerson Lim and Elizabeth Hsu)
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