Wed, Aug 03, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen says name variance is simply an expedient

A ROSE BY ANY NAME The president reiterated his willingness to attend an APEC summit as the leader of `Chinese Taipei' and outlined the country's `Four Stages'


The compromise on names that Taiwan uses in international affairs is a temporary expedient and the result of Beijing's interference, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.

While receiving dozens of members of the US-based Formosa Foundation at the Presidential Office, Chen reiterated his willingness to attend the November APEC leaders' summit in Busan, South Korea, even if it means using the name "Chinese Taipei."

Chen said he fully understands that it would be very difficult to break the convention that only allows participation by special envoys of Taiwan's president at APEC summits.

"The name `Chinese Taipei' is not my idea. But it is nevertheless the name accepted by the organization in 1991 when Taiwan applied for membership. Years have passed and I would like to have it [that name] replaced by `Taiwan' but it would be difficult to do," Chen said.

In a bid to clarify the relationship between Taiwan and Republic of China (ROC), Chen outlined his "Four Stages" theory of the country's development.

According to Chen, the first stage was the establishment of the ROC in China in 1912. The second stage was when the ROC moved to Taiwan in 1949. When Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) was president (1988-2000), the nation was a stage of "the ROC in Taiwan." After the 2000 presidential election and the first transfer of power, the nation entered a new era -- "the ROC is Taiwan."

Chen said that last week the word "Taiwan" had been added next to "Republic of China" on the English-language section of the Presidential Office's Web site in an effort to avoid confusion between the ROC and the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Chen said it is too bad that China hampers Taiwan's efforts to participate in the international community, but that Beijing's obvious malice can be seen by not just Taiwan but the entire world.

Using last year's Olympic Games award ceremonies as an example, the president said that most Taiwanese people were upset because they did not see the national flag or hear the national anthem when medals were presented to Taiwanese athletes.

Chen said the name Taiwan is not used as the country's official name in any international organization or event, noting that its name in the WTO is the "Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu."

Chen said that the compromises on names used to participate in international affairs is a temporary expedient. However, the nation's sovereignty, which belongs to the 23 million Taiwanese people, cannot be given up or shared.

The reaction of the legislative caucuses to Chen's theory was mixed.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said Chen was simply stating the facts and that his theory would help ease tensions between people of different ages and among ethnic groups who have different feelings and identifications for the country.

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip Mark Ho (何敏豪) said that although Chen was simply stating the fact that Taiwan is a sovereign state, only by enacting a new constitution and recitifying the national title can the nation's sovereign status be ensured.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) said that Chen's comments were "meaningless" and "not helpful" to people's livelihoods.

People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) said that the definition and status of the ROC should be based on the Constitution and politicians should not take the liberty of making individual interpretations.

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