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Philippines warned: China may use new map for more intrusions

Photo taken on June 23, 2014 shows a newly-issued vertical atlas of China issued by the Hunan map publishing house. Xinhua/Bai Yu

MANILA, Philippines — China may be preparing to further violate the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with its new 10-dash line map, a former national security adviser warned.

Roilo Golez, who is also a former congressman, said the Philippines should brace for more intrusions as China is making a more expansive territorial claim even by the simple act of map-drawing.

"We face the danger of the Chinese navy (PLAN) patrolling our seas well within our EEZ and getting close to our territorial sea, with the Chinese navy commanders citing the newly minted map as their authority for violating in depth our EEZ," Golez said in a statement posted on his official blog.

Earlier this week, Chinese state media reported the new map of China, which appears to have extended its maritime claims from the original nine-dash line to a 10-dash line.

Golez noted that the new 10-dash line is much closer to Palawan and is "virtually tangent" to the Philippines' Contiguous Zone, or the waters that extend between 12 and 24 nautical miles from the country's coastline.

Golez expects Malaysia and Indonesia to protest against China's new map, since the lines on it are also close to the coastline of North Borneo and are deeply penetrating the Natuna Sea.

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The former lawmaker said China's new map is without basis in law, facts and history.

"This map, even if not an official claim lodged with the UN, is an irresponsible act that destabilizes regional peace and security," he said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said the claims to maritime entitlements cannot be based on mere drawings like the new map of China, which have been superseded by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said publishing houses in some of their regions create various kinds of Chinese maps with the purpose of serving the public.

"[T]here is no need to over-read it (new map). Chinese government's position on the South China Sea is consistent, clear and free of any change," Hua said in a press briefing. -Louis Bacani

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