Greater Tainan’s application to become a member of the League of Historical Cities was approved on Wednesday, making it the first Taiwanese city to enter the international non-profit organization.
“Thanks to the abundant cultural resources allocated to the city following its upgrade to a special municipality, Greater Tainan was eventually able to become part of the league,” Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said.
The city would shoulder the responsibility of facilitating cultural exchange and share its experiences with other cities in the league, he said.
Two other cities, the Palestinian city of Hebron and Kutaisi in Georgia, were also granted membership to the organization, which now includes 95 cities in 59 countries.
Tainan was allowed to join the league under the name of Chinese Taipei — Taiwan’s designation in most international organizations and events — rather than Taiwan or the Republic of China (ROC) as preferred by the city government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We on several occasions voiced opposition to the naming. Afterward, we received a letter from the league saying the city would be listed as Greater Tainan, Chinese Taipei, at relevant events,” the city government said.
The city government argued that “Taipei” in the designation “Chinese Taipei” referred to another city and could cause confusion, adding that the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently allowed ROC expatriates residing in Japan to be registered as coming from Taiwan.
However, the league’s seven-member board of directors remained firm in its stance, the city government said.
Tainan Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮), who led a delegation to participate in the league’s annual meeting as an observer in Hue, Vietnam, in April, said the league’s eight representatives reached a consensus before a pending decision by Beijing to adopt the nomenclature in accordance with the name the nation uses at the Olympic Games in a bid to avoid international disputes.
Confirmation of the city’s membership was postponed during the Vietnam meeting after the representative from Xi-an, China, objected to its application. The Xi-an representative postponed the decision on the grounds that he would have to convey his decision to Beijing and wait for further instructions.