National bookstore pulls out Chinese-made globes

Posted at 02/14/2013 6:04 PM | Updated as of 02/14/2013 6:18 PM

MANILA - The Philippines' largest bookstore chain has withdrawn Chinese-made globes showing Beijing's claims to most of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) from its shelves, a government spokesman said Thursday.

The globes were sold by the National Bookstore up until Wednesday, foreign office spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement.

"The National Bookstore has withdrawn all the educational globes, which reflect China's nine-dash line encompassing the West Philippine Sea, from its stores," Hernandez said.

"It has taken a patriotic position to proactively support the Philippine government in advancing Philippine foreign policy objectives."

He said the decision to pull out the globes came after a dialogue with the bookstore management, which claimed they were unaware of the "misinformation" contained in the education materials.

China's "nine-dash line" outlines its claims to virtually all of the West Philippine Sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbors.

The Philippine government last month took China to an arbitration panel under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea -- a 1982 treaty signed by both countries -- to demand that it declare China's claims invalid.

China's territorial claims overlap those of the Philippines as well as Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The Philippines and Vietnam have over the past two years complained of Chinas increasing assertiveness in enforcing its claims, particularly around areas believed rich in oil and natural gas reserves.

China's stance led to a standoff last year with the Philippines over rich fishing grounds around Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop much closer to the Philippine coast than to China's shores.