The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed yesterday that it had sent instructions to its overseas missions four years ago about the principle to be used in displaying the national emblem -- a 12-point white sun on a blue background.
Ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said that according to the principle, the Republic of China (ROC) flag and emblem are to be used in countries with which Taiwan maintains diplomatic relations, while pragmatism is to be pursued in countries which do not have formal ties with Taipei. He said the principle was based on pragmatic needs and to avoid any unnecessary confusion.
Lu made the remarks amid reports that former foreign minister Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂) sent a message to overseas missions in November 2000 telling them to drop the use of the national emblem as the official logo and to replace it with the ROC flag on official invitations, menus, name cards, seating cards and stationery in countries with which Taiwan maintains formal diplomatic ties, and to use the plum blossom -- the national flower -- in other countries.
Lu confirmed that the ministry did send such a message.
Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), former director of the ministry's Research and Planning Board, said at the time that the change in policy was made mainly because the national emblem is similar to the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) emblem -- which is a 12-point white sun on a blue background -- and could create unnecessary misunderstanding.
Meanwhile, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Huang Suey-sheng (
Huang said that the use of the national emblem on uniforms is in accordance with the National Emblem Law (國徽法).
He said he would not comment on the current debate over the national emblem, saying that it is not an issue for the defense ministry to decide.
In related news, the foreign ministry yesterday dismissed a media report claiming that aid to the West Pacific island nation of Palau has been misappropriated.
Donald Lee (李傳通), deputy director of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Department, said the report by a local weekly was groundless.
According to the report, Tai-wanese companies were barred from bidding for Taiwan-financed infrastructure construction projects in Palau, and the quality of the projects were worrisome.
Lee said tenders for all Taiwan-donated infrastructure construction projects in Palau have been carried out with the consent of the Palauan government and in compliance with the country's legal procedures.
"The report about excluding prospective Taiwanese contractors' participation in bidding and the poor quality of the construction projects was not true," Lee said.