Fri, Sep 02, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Amtrak sorry for saying `province'

BY JEAN LIN  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The US' Amtrak apologized for listing Taiwan as a province of China on its online reservation Web site after protests from Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA).

Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corp, which operates most intercity passenger railroad routes in the US, corrected the mistake online and apologized for the misunderstanding,

According to the FAPA, in May a Taiwanese American in the US discovered that the Amtrak online reservations Web site had listed Taiwan as a province of China.

A group of Taiwanese Americans then filed complaints to Amtrak's customer service, but received no replies.

In July, the FAPA formally wrote a letter to David Gunn, president of the National Railroad Passenger Corp, and requested correction on this matter.

"`Province of China' should not be written after `Taiwan' since it is an incontestable reality that Taiwan is not a part of China," the FAPA letter said.

In the letter, the FAPA pointed out that in a 1996 memorandum, the US State Department stated that since the US has no diplomatic relations with the Republic of China, US officials need to refer to Taiwan as "Taiwan."

Amtrak was established by the US Congress and receives funding from the government, therefore, what they do should be in accordance with the rules set by the government, the letter said.

"I was informed that Amtrak takes no position regarding the sovereignty of Taiwan and simply lists all countries around the world according to ISO 3166-1 provided by the International Organization for Standardization, which does not list Taiwan as a province of China", said Wu Ming-chi (吳明基), president of FAPA in the letter.

Amtrak officials responded 10 days after the FAPA letter was sent, saying that they would look into it and make corrections if there was indeed a mistake.

On Aug. 16, the FAPA office received a letter from Gunn, apologizing for the mistake.

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