Tue, Jun 27, 2017 - Page 8 News List

An open letter to the US president

By Peter Chen 陳正義

We, the people advocating stronger Taiwan-US ties, appeal to US President Donald Trump to enable name rectification for each nation’s de facto embassy in the other nation.

For Taiwan’s mission in the US, we request that the US Department of State accept “Taiwan Representative Office in the US” in place of the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.”

As for the US mission in Taiwan, we urge that it be designated the “US Representative Office in Taiwan” rather than the “American Institute in Taiwan.”

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office is an embassy-equivalent in the US and it is responsible for maintaining and developing bilateral relations between Taiwan and the US. We believe that the name of this office is a misnomer and should be changed.

Employing a city’s name (Taipei) as the title of a national office is not only misleading, but also improper because the name belittles the office’s position, as well as Taiwan’s status.

In addition, the use of “Taiwan” in the Taiwan Relations Act justifies the same nomenclature for the office representing Taiwan.

Therefore, we believe the correct name should be “Taiwan Representative Office in the US.”

The Taiwan Relations Act, the cornerstone of Taiwan-US relations, stipulates: “Whenever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with such respect to Taiwan.”

Thus, under US law, Taiwan is to be treated as a foreign state-equivalent.

The designation for the US embassy-equivalent in Taiwan should not merely be an “institute.” Instead a more fitting name should include the words “representative office.” Therefore, we urge the adoption of the name “US Representative Office in Taiwan”

Japan recently upgraded its mission in Taiwan. It is now called the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association. In turn, Taiwan renamed its counterpart the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association.

Appropriately, “Japan” and “Taiwan” appear in both names. It is high time the US did its part to support both Taiwan and Japan.

As a nation, Taiwan increasingly faces an existential threat in the international arena.

We appeal to the US, as the leader of the free world and a like-minded democracy, to support Taiwan. It is in the national interests of the US and Taiwan that the nation survive and prosper.

Do not let Taiwan, a nation of freedom, democracy and human rights, perish from the Earth.

Approving the name rectifications we propose would be a small, but significant step forward.

Thank you for your attention. We look forward to hearing from you.

Peter Chen is president of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs in Washington.

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