Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 2 News List

MOFA to discuss name change plan with envoys

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will convene a meeting next week to study President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) proposal to change the names of the country's overseas representative offices, Maysing Yang (楊黃美幸), chairperson of the ministry's Research and Planning Committee, said yesterday.

Yang said the committee, which is in charge of rating the performance of the overseas representative offices, does not plan to assess their achievements by the progress of their negotiations with the host countries regarding the name changes.

"Bilateral relations between Taiwan and these countries vary. It is not proper to use the name change issue as a criteria to rate the offices," Yang said in a press conference.

Meanwhile, 10 representatives of overseas missions have returned to Taipei for consultation.

They will exchange views with senior government officials on Chen's plan to correct the name of the nation's representative offices from Taipei to Taiwan, the ministry said.

The ministry is scheduled to hold a tea party this morning for returning overseas mission chiefs to meet with the media.

The mission chiefs include Chiou Jong-nan (邱榮男), representative to France; Rex Wang (王世榕), representative to Switzerland; Wayne Wu (吳文雅), representative to Malaysia; Joseph Shih (石定), representative to New Zealand; Liu Jiunn-man (劉俊滿), director of the representative office in Munich, Germany; Huang Ju-hou (黃諸侯), director of the representative office in Fukuoka, Japan; Matthew Lee (李世明), director of the representative office in San Francisco and Henry Chen (陳銘政), representative to Ireland.

Ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday that while the president had pledged to complete the name change of state-run enterprises within two years, he did not actually say that changes to the names of the country's overseas representative offices also need to be achieved within that time frame.

Lu, who was previously posted in France, said it took 15 years for Taiwan and France to reach an agreement to allow the country's representative office in Paris to use "Taipei" in its official title.

"We can only take a step at a time," Lu said.

He said that the president is fully aware of the challenges the overseas representative offices are facing as they negotiate with their host nations about the name changes.

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