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Congress members urge U.S. to allow name change for Taiwan office

ROC Central News Agency

12/18/2020 07:33 PM

Washington, Dec. 17 (CNA) Members of the United States Congress on Thursday sent a joint letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the U.S. government to allow Taiwan to change the name of its office in Washington to the "Taiwan Representative Office."

The suggested name change from the existing "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office" was one of the three issues raised by 78 members of the House of Representatives with respect to the U.S.-Taiwan bilateral relationship.

"For the past forty years, the State Department has not referred to Taiwan as 'Taipei,' 'Chinese Taipei,' 'Taiwan, China,' or some other name," the letter read, noting that the use of the name "Taipei" fails to accurately reflect the strong ties between the two countries.

The lawmakers highlighted the discrepancy as the Taiwan Relations Act, enacted in 1979 to maintain commercial, cultural and other unofficial relations between the U.S. and Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, does not use the name "Taipei."

In their request, they urged Pompeo to go a step further by allowing Taiwan's Washington office to be renamed the Taiwan Representative Office, after he negotiated a name change for the "Coordination Council for North American Affairs" (CCNAA) in Taipei to "Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs" (TCUSA) in May 2019.

Meanwhile, the letter also raised the State Department's existing guidelines on relations with Taiwan, which they believe have imposed more restrictions on bilateral relations than are required by the absence of diplomatic relations.

"We hope that you will promptly reissue revised guidelines, taking into consideration the growing strength of our relationship with Taiwan and the position of the State Department to build on this momentum by concluding guidelines that reflect the importance of this bilateral relationship," the lawmakers said.

Lastly, they asked that the government begin negotiations on a bilateral free trade deal with Taiwan as a gesture of goodwill following the latter's recent decision to relax imports of U.S. pork and beef.

"We believe the American people would strongly support such a move, as evidenced by the overwhelming bipartisan support for trade negotiations between our countries that recent letters from both Houses of Congress have demonstrated," the lawmakers said.

The letter was jointly signed Thursday by Steve Chabot, Mario Diaz-Balart, and 76 other House members, with copies of the letter also delivered to Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach, and David Stilwell, who is assistant secretary of State Department's East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

(By Stacy Hsu and Ko Lin)


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