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Google removes Chinese name of disputed islet in South China Sea

Google removes Chinese name of disputed islet in South China Sea

Manila, July 14 (CNA) Google removed Tuesday the Chinese name for a South China Sea shoal claimed by both Beijing and Manila from its maps service, following protests from Filipinos. The Google Maps website now refers to the island -- called Huangyan Dao (???) in Chinese to its internationally known name of Scarborough Shoal, according to a report by Rappler.com. The service, which had previously labeled the island as part of China's Zhongsha island chain(????), made the name change after over 2,000 Filipinos launched an online campaign to demand that it stop identifying the outcrop as part of Chinese territory. "We've updated Google Maps to fix the issue. We understand that geographic names can raise deep emotions, which is why we worked quickly once this was brought to our attention," Google's office in Manila said in a statement, according to the report. Scarborough Shoal lies 220 kilometers off the main Philippine island of Luzon and 650 km from China's southernmost Hainan Province. The island has been under China's control since a brief standoff with the Philippines in 2012. Philippine Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Charles Jose said the Philippines welcomes Google's move to refer to the disputed islands by "neutral names." Taiwan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines all claim sovereignty over all or parts of the South China Sea islands, which are reportedly rich in oil reserves. Manila in 2013 asked for international arbitration by the United Nations-backed tribunal at The Hague, which last week started hearing the Philippines' petition to declare illegal China's maritime claims in the South China Sea that overlap those of the Philippines. On Monday, Philippine officials wrapped up their arguments on the issue. Although the words "Zhongsha Islands" have been taken off the map, they still can be searched as key words for the shoal. (By Emerson Lim and Bear Lee)


Updated : 2021-09-21 15:47 GMT+08:00