Mon, Dec 06, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Chen pledges to change names

IDENTIFICATION The president promised to change the names of some government agencies and state-owned firms to ''Taiwan,'' to avoid confusion with China

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN TAICHUNG

In a bid to make a distinction between Taiwan and China, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday pledged to rectify the names of all relevant government agencies to "Taiwan" in two years.

"All relevant agencies in international settings that are easily confused with those of China should gradually rectify their names [to Taiwan,]" Chen said at a news conference held at the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

"We will strive to rectify the names of our overseas missions," he added.

Currently, the name Taipei Economic and Culture Office(TECO) is commonly used for the nation's governmental institutions overseas. Taiwan's de facto embassy in the US is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO).

"We will start this policy first with government agencies and state-owned corporations and have them accomplish the task within two years' time," he added, referring to state-owned companies such as China Shipbuilding Corp (中船), Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) and China Steel Corp (中鋼).

Chen said that the country should also participate in international organizations with the name "Taiwan" to avoid unnecessary confusion that often takes place in international settings.

"Domestically, we should do away with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-like phenomena of no differentiation between party and state," Chen said.

"Internationally, we should actively make the differentiation between Taiwan and China to avoid unnecessary confusion."

Reiterating that the "Republic of China is Taiwan" and that it is an independent, sovereign country, Chen said that according to the existing Constitution, the ROC is the country's official title and is the "biggest common denominator" of the Taiwan public's identification to national identity.

Saying that he is the defender of Taiwan's identity, Chen said that to highlight Taiwan's identity is not tantamount to changing the country's official national title.

"Until a majority consensus with the public is reached and formed, to hastily push for a change to the country's name would only divide people's power and affect the country's unity," Chen said.

At the news conference, Chen stressed the three historic missions he has taken up.

"First, to push for democratic reform and economic development," Chen said. "Second, to accomplish constitutional reform, to assemble the Constitutional Reform Committee after the [Dec.11 legislative] elections."

"And third, in order to strive for permanent cross-strait peace, after the legislative elections [I will] invite leaders from all sectors to join the Committee for Cross-strait Peace and Development (兩岸和平發展委員會), to push for a reopening of cross-strait negotiations so that the two sides can engage in a dialogue for peace," the president said.

While reiterating his determination to push for constitutional reform, to hold a referendum on a new constitution in 2006 and to have the new constitution implemented in 2008, Chen asked people not to dwell on whether it is "amending the Constitution" or "rewriting the Constitution."

"What matters is not the words `to amend' or `to rewrite,' but the point is to focus on its substantial changes and the historic participation of the people in constitutional reform," Chen said.

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