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CHIEFS OF ROC OVERSEAS MISSIONS FULLY SUPPORT 'NAME-CHANGE' PLAN

2004-12-10 21:09:47

    Taipei, Dec. 10 (CNA) Chiefs of eight Republic of China overseas missions who returned to Taiwan earlier this week for consultations, unanimously approved the government's "name-change" policy on Friday.

    For the sake of clearly distinguishing the ROC from the People's Republic of China and underscoring Taiwan's separate identity, the eight overseas mission chiefs said the government's plan to rectify the name of the nation's representative offices in non-diplomatically allied countries by including the word "Taiwan" to clearly distinguish them from those of the PRC is "absolutely correct."

    Speaking at a tea party with local journalists organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chiou Jong-nan, representative to France, said he fully supports the "name-change" plan.

    Chiou said the "rectifying the name" drive involves negotiations with host countries of the nation's overseas representative offices. Taking the ROC representative office as an example, Chiou said that it is now designated as the "Bureau de Representation de Taipei en France (the Taipei Representative Office in France) ." Chiou said the designation was a hard-won result of lengthy negotiations with French authorities between 1994 and 1995.

    Chiou admitted that the French government has so far not made any response to his office's request to change the designation to include the word "Taiwan." "Whether we can succeed will hinge on the timing of negotiations and the overall relations between our two countries," Chiou said.

    At present, Chiou said although the designation engraved on the office's nameplate has not changed, the reference "Taiwan" is commonly used in day-to-day operations, including telephone recordings and conversations.

    Henry Chen, representative to Ireland, echoed Chiou's views, saying that all overseas missions are obligated to highlight their "Taiwan" identity in engagements with host countries and members of diplomatic corps in those countries. Chen said all ROC overseas missions chiefs should identify themselves as "ambassadors from Taiwan" to defend national sovereignty and dignity as well as to distinguish themselves from their counterparts from the PRC.

    While endorsing the government's "name-change" policy, Chen said negotiations with host countries should adopt a pragmatic strategy.

    Matthew S. M. Lee, director of the representative office in San Francisco, said domestic political developments have often caused squabbling among overseas Taiwan expatriates. Supporters of the "pan-green camp" have different views from the pro-"pan-blue alliance" expatriates in the San Francisco region, Lee said. If possible, Lee said, most expatriates there prefer to use the nation's full official title; otherwise, they would like to see the use of "Taiwan, " he explained. Green is the political color of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, while blue is the color of the opposition Kuomintang.

    Other mission chiefs present at the tea party were Wang Shih-rong, representative to Switzerland; Wu Wen-ya, representative to Malaysia; Joseph Ting Shih, representative to New Zealand; Liu Jiunn-man, director of the representative office in Munich; Hwang Ju-hou, director of the representative office in Fukuoka, Japan.

(By Sofia Wu)

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