Philippines declines to stamp visa in new Chinese passports
The Philippines says it will refuse to stamp Chinese passports containing a map of the South China Sea.
The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that immigration personnel would stamp "a separate visa application form" instead of the Chinese passport.
President Benigno Aquino's spokesman also said Wednesday the Philippines welcomed a recent US State Department statement that it planned to raise concerns over the new Chinese passports with China.
Last week, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario sent Beijing a formal protest letter.
Vietnam has also refused to stamp the passports while India is stamping its own map on visas given to Chinese visitors.
Vietnam airport refuses to stamp new Chinese passports
Vietnamese border guards are refusing to stamp entry visas into new Chinese passports, which feature a map of the Chinese territory of the South China Sea.
Vietnam has said the computer-chipped passports violate its “sovereignty”, and has demanded Beijing withdraw the documents.
"We do not stamp the new Chinese passports," said an official at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport, the country's main international gateway.
"We issue them a separate visa." A border guard in northern Lang Son province of Vietnam said they were also not stamping the new passports, but issuing separate visas to Chinese arrivals.
Even with the new passports, however, "Chinese citizens can still travel normally through the border gate," the guard added. Both the Philippines and India have also protested against the map in Beijing's new biometric passports. The United States plans to raise the issue with Beijing.
"We do have concerns about this map, which is causing tension and anxiety between and among the states in the South China Sea," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Ms Nuland said the United States would accept the passports as a valid travel document, as it was up to countries "to decide what their passports look like as long as they meet international standards."