Mon, Apr 17, 2017 - Page 3 News List

No ceremony for Japan office in Taipei renaming

By Chung Li-hua and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has no plan to hold a ceremony or a news conference to mark the official renaming of the Association of East Asian Relations to the Association of Taiwan-Japan Relations, sources said yesterday.

The Association of East Asian Relations handles ties with Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, which ended in 1972. Its office in Tokyo changed its name to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan in 1992.

Japan also set up a quasi-official organization, formerly known as the Interchange Association, Japan, to represent its interests in Taipei. The organization was renamed the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in January, with a ceremony in Taipei to unveil the new plaque.

At a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee on March 6 in response to lawmakers’ queries, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) said the Executive Yuan was reviewing a proposal to change the name of the Association of East Asian Relations to the Association of Taiwan-Japan Relations.

Sources said yesterday that the proposal has been approved by the Executive Yuan, adding that implementation was held off due to US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) this month, and that the work is expected to be completed in the next several days after some technical details are worked out.

However, the ministry plans to quietly announce the renaming via a press release and would not hold a ceremony or a news conference, sources added.

Legislators pushing for a ceremony have said that such an event should be held in Tokyo if possible, and if not, then a news conference should be called in Tokyo about the name change.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said the name change should be celebrated with great fanfare, which would improve Taiwan’s foreign affairs morale and attract international attention, adding that Taiwan should also exercise caution to avoid harming its relationship with Japan.

Former representative to Japan Koh Se-kai (許世楷) said a press release is excessively low-key for the name change.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should more positively respond to the good relations between Taiwan and Japan, he said, adding that Taiwan is a sovereign nation and should not be concerned with China’s reaction.

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