The map has drawn protests from the Indian, Philippine and Malaysian governments while Indonesia, though not a claimant-state but has its Natunas within the nine-dash-line, has said it is seeking clarity on the issue.
On Thursday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reportedly said it hopes that “relevant parties” can see its new standard map in an “objective and rational way”.
Political analyst Professor James Chin from the University of Tasmania told CNA that this move by China to push this agenda prior to the summits is “typical of Chinese diplomacy”.
“Timing is very important. The Chinese want this to be a talking point at the summits and want to show that they are consistent in claiming these territories as theirs,” said Prof Chin.
He also noted that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 found the nine-dash line to have no legal basis, and that China’s move in publishing a new map with a 10-dash line is a signal to the international community that “it does not recognise the ruling” and that it is willing to dig its heels on its claims.
Mr Alexander Neill, a Singapore-based defence analyst and adjunct fellow of Hawaii’s Pacific Forum think-tank, told CNA that China reasserting its territorial claim ahead of the summits makes clear that it is still “resolutely determined ” to enforce them.
“China may have been seen to have ceded territory from (when its empire was largest) during the Qing dynasty in the 18th century,” he added.
“In a much more nationalistic light, I think (China’s president) Xi Jinping is reinforcing China’s historic claims and also reinforcing this irredentist view of retrieving territories (of countries which) may be vulnerable,” said Mr Neill.
DISPUTES WITH INDIA, RUSSIA AND ASEAN STATES
The Australian Institute’s Mr Behm said that the additional dash appears to be China’s re-assertion of its claim to Taiwan as part of China.
“It clearly includes Taiwan within its ocean boundaries, lest any country imagine that China has wavered at all on its claim to Taiwan,” he said.
Mr Behm noted that while China’s claim to Taiwan is well documented, there have been questions over how countries will react if China were to “seek to reintegrate Taiwan forcibly”.