China issues controversial maps

(AP)

The Chinese government defended a new officially approved map of the country on Wednesday that displays the South China Sea in a more prominent way than previous versions.

China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei lay claim to parts of it, or, in Beijing’s case, virtually the entire waters.

Some of these nations have outposts and do hold de facto control of some of the 750 – plus islands, rocks and reefs.

But Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Hua Chunying said “there is no need to do much over-interpretation.”

“The Chinese government’s stance on the South China Sea is consistent and clear,” Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing in Beijing.

In contrast with the usual horizontal map, the new version, released by the Hunan Publishing House is vertical in order to include the reefs and islands that are also in dispute.

The map was available to buy in downtown Beijing, while copies of it were being sold by the publisher online.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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