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MAC reiterates objections to China's new passport design

ROC Central News Agency

2012/12/27 16:37:46

Taipei, Dec. 27 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) urged Beijing Thursday to pay attention to the Taiwanese people's indignation over the design of China's new passports, after Taiwan's protests over the issue were brushed off by China.

MAC head Wang Yu-chi reiterated that the passport design, which shows Taiwan as part of China's national map and includes pictures of Taiwan's scenic spots, have hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese people.

'If the mainland authorities fail to realize this, the development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations will be undermined,' Wang said at a hearing in the Legislature's Interior Affairs Committee.

According to Wang, the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) wrote to its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), on Nov. 23 and Dec. 24 to convey the Taiwan government's position on the issue.

The SEF and ARATS are intermediary bodies set up by Taiwan and China, respectively, to handle bilateral affairs in the absence of official ties.

In a reply letter Wednesday, the ARATS dismissed Taiwan's protests as 'invalid,' saying that the new passport design only became an issue because pro-independence activists have 'made a big fuss' about it, according to Wang.

He said the way the ARATS handled the matter is 'unacceptable' to Taiwan because it demonstrates that Beijing does not realize how serious an impact the incident has had on cross-strait ties.

He said the ties between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are a kind of 'special relations,' rather than between two countries.

The territory under the Republic of China Constitution includes mainland China, but its jurisdiction covers only Taiwan and the outlying islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu at present, he added.

Over the next three years, the MAC will work toward the goal of establishing reciprocal representative offices for the SEF and ARATS in each other's territory, according to Wang.

(By Scarlett Chai and Y.F. Low)

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