The United States on Thursday came out in support of India and other neighbours of China on the issue of Beijing issuing passports having a map of disputed territories and that of parts of other nations.
The State Department officials are formally scheduled to convey to the Chinese its opposition to such a passport, which it believes is causing tension in the region. The US would continue to accept these passports as travel documents.
"We do have concerns about this map which is causing tension and anxiety between and among the states in the South China Sea. We do intend to raise this with the Chinese in terms of it not being helpful to the environment. We all seek to resolve these issues," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.
"I think we'll make clear that this is not helpful to what we all want, which is an environment where the countries involved in this can settle it," she said.
Not aware if any country in the region has approached the United States in this regard, Nuland said the US has watched their concerns expressed directly to the Chinese.
"But obviously, we're going to take it up ourselves, we'll obviously share that with them," she said.
"As a legal and consular matter, it's up to states to decide what their passports look like, as long as they meet international standards of being a valid travel document and a document that can't be forged and all those kinds of things.
"So it's on that basis that we will accept it as a legal document. That's a different matter than whether it's politically smart or helpful to be taking steps that antagonise countries that we want to see a negotiation happen with," Nuland said.