China irks neighbors with passport map

Generally, when passports become an issue in border disputes it's because of who they're being given to. But China has managed to irritate its neighbors just by designing a new passport:

China's newly revised passports [show] Arunachal Pradesh state and the Himalayan region of Aksai Chin as Chinese territory.

Inside the new Chinese passports, an outline of China printed in the upper left corner also includes Taiwan and the South China sea, hemmed in by dashes. The change highlights China's longstanding claim to the sea in its entirety, though parts of the waters also are claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.

Vietnam is refusing to stamp the new booklets and the Philippines is considering doing the same. Taiwan's president has also spoken out against the new passports. India has taken a more creative approach by stamping Chinese visas with a map showing the "corrected" version of the border. 

I also suspect other countries locked in territorial disputes may pick up on this tactic. It wouldn't be surprising if the printers in La Paz are already churning out new booklets depicting the Bolivian seashore


Bloggingheads and Obama's visit to Burma

On Monday, Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Burma. It was just the latest in a series of hurdles Burma has crossed over the last fifteen months on its journey from a pariah state to a darling of investors, NGOs, and aid organizations: this week the U.S. government announced $170 million in aid for the country over the next two years. In the latest installment of Foreign Policy's collaboration with Bloggingheads, I interviewed Min Zin, an exiled Burmese journalist now at University of California, Berkley and FP contributor, to discuss how the Chinese lost Burma, what the lifting of censorship means for local journalists, and how to deal with the fact that Burma's fearsome military still runs most of the country.