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.