Tue, Mar 19, 2002 - Page 3 News List

GIO using Taiwan, not ROC, on its official documents


The Government Information Office is using the designation "Taiwan" as much as possible to describe the country's name, GIO Deputy Director-General Frederic Chang (張平男) said yesterday.

Speaking at a symposium organized by the pro-Taiwan independence World Taiwanese Congress (WTC), Chang said his office began using Taiwan instead of ROC in its pamphlets advocating membership in the UN for the first time last year.

Other GIO publications have also had ROC removed from their titles, said Chang, while internal documents also use Taiwan rather than ROC, such as references to Taiwan-Japan relations instead of ROC-Japan relations.

In formal government documents, he said, official practice is to follow the Presidential Office by `using Taiwan' as much as possible."

The WTC symposium, which took place on the second day of its annual conference in Taipei, urged President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) government to change the country's name from ROC to "Republic of Taiwan," claiming the country's name is often mistaken by foreigners with the PRC.

Shih Jui-chi, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the symposium that using Taiwan instead of ROC in government's documents highlights the fact that the nation "is standing up" for itself.

Noting that Foreign Minister Eugene Chien (簡又新) has asked all foreign service workers to faithfully carry out the president's foreign policy, Shih said his ministry will thoroughly execute all foreign policy based on public opinion.

Last month, citing three related surveys conducted by the ministry in August 2000 and in July and November of last year, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said more than 70 percent of respondents in each of the polls said they favored "Taiwan" over "Taipei" for the naming of representative offices in places where the ROC, Taiwan's official name, is not allowed due to lack of diplomatic recognition.

In that case, as in the present case, officials said that the ministry would evaluate the possibility of turning the suggestion into action, a move that was simply a response to public opinion.

"If we were to rename these representative offices, the first priority would be to call them `ROC.' If that's not feasible, then we'll probe other possibilities. And we won't exclude the possibility of using `Taiwan,'" Chang said.

The ministry would take into consideration various factors, including international practices, cross-strait relations, as well as the opinions of the respective countries in question.

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