By Raïssa Robles
China is fond of pointing out that the very name South China Sea establishes their ownership of the atolls and reefs and islands within that singular body of water.
South China Sea has always been called THAT in ancient western maps, Chinese diplomats have told me. It’s further proof that indeed, the west has long recognized their ancient claim because it is in their maps.
I was stumped by that argument for a long time.
It was the same line of reasoning that made the Philippine government recently rename part of that same body of water the West Philippine Sea.
Take that, China. From now on, it will be called the West Philippine Sea. Manila has spoken.
But recently, someone posed this question to me: “What about the Indian Ocean? Does it mean India owns all the islands in the Indian Ocean?”
Hmmmm. Good question.
And so I looked up the Indian Ocean and saw that using the same argument expounded by the Chinese diplomat, the islands of Madagascar, Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and even parts of Australia should be owned by India, too.
Perhaps when ancient cartographers labeled that body of water South China Sea, what they really meant to say was – it’s a Sea that is South of China.
While the Indian Ocean is nearest that subcontinent, India.
CESAR ARELLANO says
The earth and soil below of Spratley Island is connected to Palawan, the sea that flows from our shore may be on east or west is the same it is our land!what they have shared with us is just flow of the sea which you cannot avoid it goes all over the continents hence, we own china and the whole continent, if that is the argument of those that tried to claim what is naturally ours The Philippine Island of Spratley. okay stupid!!I live in Palawan the last frontier.
Luwi Cheng says
renaming south china seas to west philippines sea is not like renaming a street in manila. are there cartographs which identify the south china seas as west philippines seas?
None. But the Philippines can make some :)
I agree with you, renaming the south china sea into west philippines sea just because of the dispute of the spratlys island is not a valid reason. There is what is called Cartography and Geographic Information Society which is the one incharge in making and naming world maps as reference.