China opened a website on the South China Sea, complete with historical maps, articles and research, according to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).
Run by the National Marine Data & Information Service, the Chinese language site has 10 sections that cover basic information, news, historical archives, development and management, expert opinion, law and regulations, a timeline of major events, pictures and videos and Q&A.
"The South China Sea has drawn huge attention, but some information online is not accurate," said Zhang Haiwen, SOA official in charge of international cooperation. "We hope that this website will enable domestic and overseas people to better understand it and learn about the truth behind the 'dispute' over it."
According to Zhang, the website contains not only maps and archives but also exclusive analysis and expository articles based on experts' research of thousands of maps.
Zhang cited that a map often used by Vietnam to prove that it owned the Xisha Islands was actually pieced together by two maps, which have already been obtained by experts and might be used to refute the country's claim.
Zhang said new findings will be published on the website once verified.
According to the SOA, information on the website must first be reviewed by an expert panel and be "comprehensive, authoritative, detailed and accurate."
"The website is founded with the aim of positively publicizing our policies, claims, historical proof, legal basis and international cooperation while serving as a reliable channel for domestic and overseas government departments, research groups and individuals to learn about the South China Sea," said SOA spokesman Shi Qingfeng.
The website has now six domain names, including www.thesouthchinasea.org and www.china-nanhai.org, due to "information unification and security concerns," according to the SOA.
(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2016)