National title first
Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) is to meet Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) in Nanjing, China.
Wang and Zhang might discuss the possibility of a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in the APEC leaders’ summit in Beijing this Year of the Horse. Politics generally follows economics. Wang has begun to worry what Ma will be called in the APEC meeting. Possibly Wang might also wonder whether he will be called “Minister Wang” in Nanjing (Editorial, Feb. 8, page 8).
For sure, Xi will not call Ma “President Ma.” Xi will most likely call Ma “Mr Ma” or “Leader Ma.” Other world leaders will follow suit. China stripped Ma of the title of “president” on the day Taiwanese offered him this dignified title. Recently, China also called the Presidential Office “Ma Ying-jeou’s office.”
Ma and Xi have one thing in common: They both promote the “one China” policy. Of course, one China can only have one president. Besides, Taiwan is often called “Chinese Taipei,” which implies that Taiwan is a part of China. The Ministry of Education also wants to “slightly adjust” the name “China” into “Mainland China” in textbooks. This will adversely distort Taiwan’s “status quo.” Furthermore, Taiwan’s embassies and consulates all carry the name “Taipei,” which does not sound like a country.
Ma always says that “one China is the Republic of China (ROC)” and clings to the outdated ROC Constitution, but Ma will be too shy to reiterate this short sentence to Xi.
If Ma can accept “Mr Ma” as his title, Minister Wang should not be upset if he is called “Mr Wang” in China. On an equal basis with the TAO, the MAC should be renamed the “China Affairs Council.”
If China and the US can call Taiwan “Taiwan,” why can’t Taiwan call itself “Taiwan”? This is the first step in rectifying Taiwanese officials’ titles.