Tue, Aug 20, 2002 - Page 2 News List

MOI rethinks Mongolia

FACING REALITY As a practical matter, the Ministry of the Interior is taking a cue from civic groups and is mulling a review of Mongolia's status as part of ROC territory

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

By studying the possibility of re-evaluating Mongolia's status as part of ROC territory, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is taking further steps toward recognizing it as an independent state.

The move follows revised Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) regulations exempting Outer Mongolia's citizens from outdated diplomatic visa rules.

"For practical reasons, we are pushing the proposal to recognize Mongolia as an independent country, striking Mongolia from the territory listed as part of the ROC's former territory, which would not violate the Constitution," Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) told reporters yesterday evening.

"It is my understanding that most ministries support the idea," Yu said.

According to MOI officials, they started to study the possibility of changing Mongolia's designation after receiving maps published by civic groups which exclude Mongolia during the processes of reviewing and examining maps published in Taiwan.

Chang Yuan-hsu (張元旭), director of the MOI's Land Administration Department, explained that based on historical information, the ROC formally recognized Mongolia as an independent state in 1946.

The confusion surrounding the issue is based on the fact that the treaty whereby Taipei recognized Mongolia was revoked in 1953. The MOI's proposal would simply return Mongolia to the independent status is enjoyed before the Sino-Soviet Friendship Treaty of August 1945 was abrogated in 1953.

In that treaty, the ROC had agreed to recognize Mongolian independence if the Mongolian people voted in favor of it in a referendum. A referendum was duly held in October 1945, with the electorate voting overwhelmingly for independence. The ROC, therefore, recognized Mongolia in January 1946. When the treaty was revoked in 1953, Mongolia ostensibly reverted to sovereign ROC territory.

Chang further cited an administrative document released by the MOI in 1947, which states, "Despite the fact that we recognized Mongolia as a independent country on Jan. 5 1946, the borders [between the two] still need to be confirmed."

But Chang emphasized that the issue of Mongolian recognition is a political one and would must be decided by higher-level officials.

Under the rules, maps must be reviewed and examined by the Map Examination Committee, which is staffed by Executive Yuan ministries, before they can be published.

The MOI plans to repeal the regulations to allow the organizations to publish maps without such review and examination.

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