Saturday, January 19, 2013


Canada's new currency has a Norwegian maple leaf on it. The world will not shift uneasily in its seats wondering what Canada is up to.

Yes, there's been a bit of an error on Canada's currency. Perhaps not as bad as putting a Soviet red star on our currency, but a bit embarrassing:

The Bank of Canada has barked up the wrong maple tree with its new plastic banknotes, using a foreign Norway maple leaf as the emblem on the notes instead of the sugar maple that the country has on its national flag, an eagle-eyed Canadian botanist says.

The untrained eye might not at first spot the difference between the maple leaf on the new $20, $50 and $100 bills and the North American sugar maple.

The Canadian government denies that it made an error and that the leaf is a composite drawn from many types. So maybe it isn't even an error.

But one thing we do know is that Canada hasn't slyly unveiled a hegemonistic policy of "If it's cold--it's ours!" with Norway as the first target nation.

You see, if it was China doing something like this, people would sweat.

And well people should. China's newest official map (tip to Mad Minerva) shows a total of 130 disputed areas that do not fall within China's actual area of control:

A new map to be released later this month by China’s National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation increases from 29 to 130 the number of disputed areas marked as officially part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) [Note: Otherwise called the Senkaku Islands by Japan] claimed by Taiwan and Japan.

Previous editions of the “Wall Map Series of National Territory,” which presented China’s claimed territory in horizontal format, only included the larger contested islands in the South China Sea in a separate box at the bottom right of the map, Xinhua news agency said at the weekend.

That's horrifying, you might think, given that the last map showed only 29 such disputed areas. Those poor Chinese! What evil buggers sauntered in and walked off with 101 bits of their land?

Well, nobody did. China just feels strong enough to point out 101 more pieces of land that they want. If we're patient, perhaps we can see one of the new disputed areas blossom into a lovely core interest. As I wrote not too long ago:

I'm starting to think that an interest is "core" to China if China simply wants it.

What won't become a "core interest" of China the way things are going?

Yes, indeed. Don't worry if you can't snap up this must-have document--especially if you suspect your land might be on the new to-do list of Peking. I'm sure you should wait for the new map of 2015, which will have 154 disputed areas highlighted for your enjoyment.