Mon, Feb 10, 2020 - Page 6 News List

John J. Tkacik, Jr. On Taiwan: ‘Republic of China’ and ‘Taiwan’

As the year 2020 begins, much work remains if the name “Taiwan” is to be separated effectively from “China” in the world’s lexicons. The ICAO’s pettiness in blocking Twitter posts about Taiwan is just one instance. Last week, Vietnam abruptly halted arriving flights from Taiwan because the World Health Organization listed “Taiwan, province of China” as part of the WHO’s China-quarantine for “novel corona-virus”. Although Hanoi reversed the ban immediately, the incident calls for a worldwide re-think of how international organizations deal with “Taiwan.” In the early 2000s, China was able to hijack the small, independent “International Organization for Standardization” in Geneva which standardizes internet protocols. China then embedded “Taiwan, Province of China” in all global software. This was then adopted by all United Nations-related agencies as a standard, including ICAO and WHO, whose computer drop-down lists, maps and graphs so thoroughly confuse the world’s bureaucracies as well as its citizens.

A year ago, President Tsai called on China to face the reality of the existence of the “Republic of China Taiwan,” with government-to-government relations on a “basis of equality.” It was to be her central task for 2019, “brave and confident, one with the World.” She has been successful beyond expectations. China has no intention of acceding to the Taiwan president, but with a little help from friends, the Rest of the World probably will.

John J. Tkacik, Jr. is a retired US foreign service officer who has served in Taipei and Beijing and is now director of the Future Asia Project at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top