DreamWorks hasn’t got the South China Sea map right, according to Vietnam.
That’s something that adds to geopolitical tensions between Hanoi and Beijing.
The movie studio’s new film Abominable, a joint production with China, includes a scene containing a map featuring China’s claims in the South China Sea.
The “nine-dash line,” which China unilaterally has declared to be its own.
That’s a vague self-defined borderline in which Beijing wants to assert control over virtually all of the sea, including an area Vietnam claims to be its own.
And that’s why Vietnam is banning the film from movie theaters, according to a recent BBC report.
Vietnam and China have been caught in a long dispute regarding overlapping claims in the South China Sea. And it’s doing whatever it takes to get this message across to its neighbors. Like the building of human-made islands, in violation of international law. And the sailing of its vessels in disputed waters.
There are a couple of reasons for China’s grandiose claims. One of them is that the South China Sea is rich in oil and gas, which China very much needs to sustain economic growth.
Then there’s the sea’s strategic importance as a waterway to the riches of Middle East and Africa.
Additionally there is domestic nationalistic sentiment China wishes to appease, in order to distract Chinese citizens from the country’s real problems. Like the blowing of multiple bubbles and the soaring government and private debt, as was discussed in previous pieces here.
But making grandiose claims is one thing, enforcing them is another. These claims pit China against neighbors like Vietnam, which has showed its will and determination to fight back, even if that means an all-out war.
Beijing’s assertions further pit China against America and its allies, which want to enforce freedom of navigation rules in the South China Sea. They, too, have demonstrated their will and determination to stop China.
Ironically, Vietnam’s recent challenge of the South China Sea map came at an interesting time. Recently Christian Dior, a French luxury brand company, had to apologize to Beijing for showing a map that didn’t including areas China considers part of its sovereignty.
That was after Beijing strongly protested about that incidence.
While it’s still unclear whether the two incidents were accidental or intentional, one thing is clear: China’s map wars will continue for years to come, and impact its relations with companies and countries.