Tue, Feb 18, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet comes to final decision on passport wording

STAFF WRITER

The government has decided to add the word "Taiwan" in Roman script to the front of ROC passports, Chinese-language media reported yesterday.

The controversial decision was made during the Lunar New Year holidays, the reports said, but the announcement of the decision was delayed while the National Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs evaluated the international effects of possible war between the US and Iraq.

The move is expected to solve much of the confusion caused by Taiwanese traveling abroad with passports that say "Republic of China," as they are often mistaken as being from the PRC.

Passports will keep the words "Republic of China" as they appear now, with "Taiwan" written below, the reports said.

To attract attention, the font will be large, and the name will not be placed within parentheses, a suggestion that has been rejected because it would create a feeling of subsidiarity, the reports said.

According to officials quoted in the reports, another solution was discussed when Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂) was foreign minister whereby the text "Issued in Taiwan" in Roman script would be added to the passports.

However, opposition from both independence and unification advocates, as well as among the general public who felt that such a solution would belittle the country, persuaded the president to reject the proposal.

High-level officials said that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has already approved the new plans and that he believed it was an improvement that would meet the needs of Taiwanese traveling abroad, the reports said.

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