"No, it is not an endorsement. Our position, as you know on the South China Sea continues to be that these issues need to be negotiated among the stakeholders, among ASEAN and China, and you know a picture on a passport doesn't change that," State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told
reporters at her daily news conference.
Responding to questions on this issue, Nuland said her understanding is that there are certain basic international standards that have to be met in a passport.
"You know stray maps that they include aren't part of it,"she said. "As a technical legal matter, that map doesn't have any bearing on whether the passport is valid for US visa issuance or for entry into the United States...," she said.
"I'm not sure whether we've had a chance to have that discussion with the Chinese, frankly, the first time this issue came to the attention of some of us was over the weekend when the passports started being rejected in various countries," she said.
"So presumably from the perspective that it is considered provocative by some of those countries, we ll have a conversation about it, but in terms of the technical issue of whether the passport is...," she said. "I would expect that we'll probably have a conversation about the fact that this is considered difficult by some of the countries," Nuland said.
NSA downplays Sino-India map row
National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon today downplayed the recent "map row" with China contending that the issue required to be looked at in
the perspective of boundary talks which have made progress.
"I think you need to see these things in some perspective. We do have differences on where the boundary lies. We are discussing them. We have made progress in dealing with that," Menon said in reply to questions on China issuing e-passports that show Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as part of China.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) said Chinese documents show their version of the boundary, while Indian documents show "our version of the boundary".
Menon's comments come in the wake of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid terming the Chinese actions as "unacceptable"."What has changed? Chinese have a view on where the boundary lies, which is why we are having discussions on the boundary because we have differences on where the boundary is," Menon said after releasing six books on China at the Observer Research Foundation here.
"Chinese chose to put a watermark on their passports which shows the boundaries as they see it. We show our boundary as we see it on visas that we issue. So, what has changed. On our documents we continue to show what we regard as our boundary, they show their claims on their documents," he said.
Menon said India and China have agreed on a three-stage process for settle the boundary issue. "We are in the process of agreeing on a framework to
settle the boundary and the next step, hopefully the third stage, is to actually agree on a boundary. Right now we are at the second stage," he said.