Vietnam bans China-made smartphones with maps of '9-dash line'

Vietnam issues ban on Chinese-made smartphones and GPS navigation devices with '9-dash line'

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("Nine-dash line" on Chinese Phone screengrab)

("Nine-dash line" on Chinese Phone screengrab)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Vietnam's government announced on Friday (Nov. 8) that all Chinese-made smartphones and car GPS navigation devices that depict China's fictitious "nine-dash line" in the South China Sea will be confiscated.

Vietnam's state-owned VTC News announced that any smartphones built by Chinese companies, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, or GPS automotive navigation devices that contain maps displaying the disputed nine-dash line will be confiscated by customs officials. The General Department of Vietnam Customs said it would instruct the relevant departments to take measures to stop "violations of Vietnam's territorial sovereignty."

Mai Tien Dung, minister-chairman of the Government Office, said on Nov. 5 that the nine-dash line will never be allowed to appear on a map of Vietnamese territory, reported See Hua Daily News. He said the government will further study the matter and present a report on its findings to the prime minister for deliberation.

He said the goal of the report would be to devise ways to instruct the relevant departments on ways of taking timely measures to prevent future portrayals of the Chinese boundary markers transgressing Vietnamese territory. The announcement on Friday appears to be one of these measures.

Nguyen Hung Anh, head of Vietnam Customs’ anti-smuggling and investigation department, was cited by CustomsNews.vn as saying that all seven car models from China’s Hanteng Autos were seized last week for having the controversial map in their navigation systems. Vietnam also recently announced that it will penalize Volkswagen AG’s local distributor and an importer for showcasing a Touareg CR745J at a motor show in October, which also included the nine-dash line in its navigation device.

UN tribunals have on repeated occasions ruled against the nine-dash-line, which amounts to an assertion that the entire South China Sea is Chinese territory. As the line covers a vast swath of ocean just off the coast of Vietnam, the Southeast Asian nation, among others, disputes the validity of the boundary.

In October, the cash-craving executives at DreamWorks saw fit to include the nine-dash line in its latest animated film, "Abominable," taking great pains to include Taiwan within the fabricated dashes, spurring Vietnam to yank the film from its theaters. Later that month, Taiwan's Ministry of Culture said that the film disrespects Taiwan's sovereignty, while a Tainan City councilor described the film as promoting the nine-dash line for "bandits."