Registration was successful!
Please follow the link from the email sent to

Google Maps Removes Chinese Name for Disputed South China Sea Territory

© AP Photo / Aaron FavilaPhilippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, left, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, center, listen during a cartographic exhibit entitled “Historical Truths and Lies: Scarborough Shoal in Ancient Maps.”
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, left, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, center, listen during a cartographic exhibit entitled “Historical Truths and Lies: Scarborough Shoal in Ancient Maps.” - Sputnik International
Subscribe
As tensions continue to flare in the South China Sea, tech giant Google has waded into the debate, making a political statement through Google Maps.

China’s construction of artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago has raised complaints from many nations in the region. While the islands lie within Chinese territory in the South China Sea, there are contested claims by the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Nearly 500 miles northeast of the Spratly archipelago lies a reef internationally known as Scarborough Shoal. The Chinese know the island as Huangyan, and claim it as their own. The Philippines refer to the reef as Panatag Shoal, and also claim sovereignty over the island.

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef. - Sputnik International
China Nearly Finished With Runway on 'Wall of Sand' Island in S. China Sea

While territorial assertions are typically hashed out among diplomats, Google seems to have taken it upon itself to recognize the reef by its international name of Scarborough Shoal.

"We understand that geographic names can raise deep emotions which is why we worked quickly once this was brought to our attention," Google wrote in a statement to the BBC.

This decision followed an online petition signed by a number of Filipino activists who requested that Google change the name, which the tech company had previously labeled Huangyan Island. Activists felt this demonstrated a bias toward the Chinese government.

© Screenshot/GoogleGoogle now refers to the reef as Scarborough Shoal.
Google now refers to the reef as Scarborough Shoal. - Sputnik International
Google now refers to the reef as Scarborough Shoal.

"In all cases, we work to represent the 'ground truth' as accurately and neutrally as we can, in consistency with Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful," Google’s public policy guidelines read.

Nearly 12,000 soldiers will take part in this year’s Balikatan military exercises. - Sputnik International
Hint to Beijing? US Organizes War Games With Philippines in South China Sea

Google Maps considers "guidance from authoritative references, local laws and local market expectations" to "include all points of view where there are conflicting claims," the guidelines go on to say.

In 2012, the reef was host to a confrontation between China and the Philippines, when ships from both nations entered the area and refused to leave. In April, the Philippines also conducted joint military exercises with the United States in the South China Sea. Directed out of Zambales naval base, a significant portion of the drills took place only 137 miles from the disputed reef. Those exercises were largely seen as an attempt to provoke Beijing.

In 2013, the Philippines filed its territorial complaints with the Permanent Court of Arbitration. It has also, more recently, filed a case with the UN tribunal, asserting its right to the reef.

Rick Falkvinge - Sputnik International
Google's Secret Eavesdropping Tool May Promote Mass Surveillance

The Chinese government has refused to take part in these cases, urging instead for direct cooperation dialogue between Beijing and Manila.

On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing "will never accept the unilateral attempts to turn to a third party to solve the disputes."

A hotly contested body of water, nearly $5 trillion in trade passes through the South China Sea each year. While China claims most of the sea, there are overlapping claims by Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

Newsfeed
0
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
loader
Chats
Заголовок открываемого материала