Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday he will promote Taiwan's sovereignty by demanding the government refer to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in official documents as "China."
Yu made the remarks when questioned by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) yesterday in the Legislative Yuan.
Shen said to Yu that official government documents never referred to the PRC as the PRC, and asked Yu whether it was negligent for the government not to do so.
Yu responded by saying that he had started to address PRC as China recently.
"At least since President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) second term began, I have addressed the country on the other side of the Taiwan Strait as China," Yu said. "I also demand, from now on, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies address the other side, the PRC, as China. China is the PRC, and not just verbally but in writing too," he said.
"In the Executive Yuan's administrative report to the Legislative Yuan this past June, the first focus was to realize Taiwan's sovereignty. Now we have decided on a directive to address the PRC as China," Yu said.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) said that addressing the PRC as China was nothing new.
"In the past we have addressed the PRC as the Chinese Communist Party, Beijing, PRC, and China, so calling them China is nothing new," Kau said.
"Although the premier's statement gave us a unified and clear direction for the future, what he said was nothing new, and I hope this won't devolve into some political spat," Kau said.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) voiced support for Yu's statement.
"Before, we used to call China the Chinese Communist Party, but since China is really an independent sovereign country, we should address them as China according to international norms," said TSU caucus whip Huang Chung-yuan (黃宗源).
"So calling the PRC China in official documents is correct," he said.
But the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus still suggested "mainland China" was a more appropriate term.
"The cross-strait relationship is in a quite sensitive position, and the government should act according to the ROC Constitution, KMT caucus whip Tseng Yuan-chuan (曾永權) said. "It is still better to address China as `mainland China.'"