Upcoming movie `Barbie` and South Korean girl group BLACKPINK have sparked outrage in Vietnam after using maps displaying China`s disputed nine-dash line in their promotional materials.

The nine-dash line is a cartographic representation used by China to assert its territorial claims over a significant portion of the South China Sea, a stance that is strongly contested by Vietnam and other countries in the region.

The Barbie film, scheduled for release in Vietnam on July 21, faced a ban after it was revealed that a sequence in the movie featured a map incorporating the controversial nine-dash line. As a result, the film will no longer be screened in Vietnam. The Philippines is also threatening to follow a similar course of action after reviewing the film. Warner Brothers on the other hand have defended the representation saying that the map in question is a “child-like crayon drawing”, which merely represents the fictional journey that Barbie will undertake in the movie.

Similarly, the Blackpink concert, organized by Beijing-based company iME and slated for October 23 in Hanoi, drew criticism because the concert organizer`s website includes a map displaying the nine-dash line. Outraged Vietnamese social media users called for a boycott of the performance. In response to the backlash, iME issued an apology for the inclusion of the map.

The incident has sparked discussions about China`s territorial claims in the contested waters of the South China Sea and the violation of Vietnamese laws. The Ministry of Culture and Information in Vietnam has launched an investigation into the use of the map in both the `Barbie` movie and the Blackpink concert – a sign that the matter at hand is being considered seriously by the state. The controversy has also raised questions about the importance of respecting national sovereignty.

Concerns remain about the promotion and use of products or publications containing the nine-dash line in Vietnam. During a briefing on Thursday, Pham Thu Hang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, admitted that Blackpink`s Vietnam event had become a “hot-button issue.”

“In Vietnam, the promotion and use of products or publications featuring the `nine-dash line` is a violation of Vietnamese law and is unacceptable,” Hang stated.

The Barbie movie and the Blackpink concert have become important issues, segueing into broader debates about territorial disputes and the need to uphold national sovereignty in Vietnam.