Why it’s crucial to understand what the nine-dash line means
Last of 2 parts
IF the nine-dash line does not represent China’s territorial boundaries in the South China Sea, as I have explained Wednesday, then what is it?
The line first appeared in the “Map Showing the Location of the Various Islands in the South Sea” in the February 1948 Atlas of Administrative Areas of the then Kuomintang-controlled Republic of China. Subsequent maps of China, issued in certain years starting 1958 to 2001 contained the line. It originally consisted of 11 dashes, but were reduced to nine in 1952, upon orders of Mao Zedong so as not to include North Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin, as a gesture of solidarity with another communist-ruled state.
That it was not really a territorial boundary is evident in the fact that China has never given its geographical coordinates, and the dashes’ positions in its 2009 map submitted to the UN are even slightly different from its previous maps.
One probable explanation for the line’s continued use is that if the Communist Party of China deleted the line in its official maps, it would seriously dent its nationalist credentials, and its archenemy the Kuomintang Party — under whose rule the line was first drawn — would condemn it for relinquishing Chinese territory and therefore that it is betraying China.(more…)