Sat, Sep 01, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Diplomats’ new titles won’t upset China: ministry

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday dismissed concerns that its plan to formalize titles conferred on the nation’s diplomats stationed in countries who have no diplomatic relations with Taiwan could anger Beijing and cause unfavorable reactions.

Ministry spokesperson Steve Hsia (夏季昌) confirmed that the ministry has proposed that the nation’s representatives to non-diplomatically allied counties be titled ambassadors, deputy representatives be titled ministers and section chiefs be titled councilors.

Titles of other, lower-ranking diplomats in nations not allied to Taiwan would also be changed in accordance with the international system of diplomatic ranks, Hsia said.

The proposed plan has been referred to Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) for his approval, he said, after the Chinese-language United Evening Daily News revealed the plan.

Hsia said the changes made to the titles would only be applicable domestically.

If the proposed plan takes effect, diplomats in countries that are not diplomatic allies will retain their current titles — such as representative, deputy representative and section chief — when they represent the country abroad, Hsia said.

The evening paper said the changes could needlessly provoke China because the move had a high degree of political implications. It added that the move would hinder President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in advancing the nation’s international presence because it ran counter to his policy of flexible diplomacy.

Hsia dismissed that the plan would be a cause for concern.

The ministry proposed the plan as an administrative convenience to simplify the complexity in titles conferred to diplomats in diplomatic allies and non-diplomatic countries, he said.

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