Fri, Mar 25, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Indonesia agrees to change Taiwan’s designation

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwan scored a small victory yesterday after its protest on Monday forced the Indonesian government to change a reference to Taiwan as “Taiwan, PRC” to “Chinese Taipei.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the protest against its Indonesian counterpart after it found Taiwan was listed as “Taiwan, PRC [People’s Republic of China]” on its Web site, with information on countries qualified for its visa-on-arrival, following media coverage on the matter.

The ministry sent “a very strong message” to the Indonesian government via the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Jakarta and its counterpart in Taipei, ministry spokesman James Chang (章計平) told a press conference yesterday.

Late yesterday afternoon, the ministry issued a press statement saying that “Taiwan, PRC” had temporarily been replaced with “Chinese Taipei,” in line with the reference for the country used by APEC, the World Health Assembly and the International Olympic Committee.

“We have explained to the Indonesian government that Taiwan and ‘mainland’ China are not subordinate to each other and that the reference on its Web site was inconsistent with the facts. We requested that the Indonesian authorities act swiftly to make a correction,” the press statement said.

Chang said Indonesia “showed goodwill” to Taiwan by correcting the error, adding that the ministry would continue to demand a formal reference as “Republic of China (Taiwan).”

The ministry said that in the past, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had for some time listed the country as “Taiwan” on the same Web page.

The ministry said it would seek answers on when Indonesia started to refer to Taiwan as “Taiwan, PRC” and why through dialogue with the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chang said.

Similar name-changing incidents have occurred in the past. This often happened because foreign governments and organizations voluntarily adopted a “one China” policy or were forced to do so under pressure from Beijing.

Such incidents in the past have included calling Taiwan “Taiwan, China,” “Taipei, China” and “Taiwan, province of China.”

Chang called on the public to inform the ministry whenever they encountered designations by other countries or international organizations that were inappropriate so the ministry can lodge protests and demand corrections.

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