Sat, Sep 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Group calls for change to Washington office’s name

Staff writer, with CNA, Washington

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) is calling for a change in the name of Taiwan’s representative office in the US, Formosan Association for Public Relations (FAPR) executive director Coen Blaauw said on Tuesday.

The Washington-based group decided to advocate for the name change after the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages reciprocal visits by senior government officials from the two nations, was signed into law by US President Donald Trump in March, Blaauw said.

The group hopes that the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office can be renamed the Taiwan Representative Office, because the current title includes only Taipei, not Taiwan, making it appear that the office represents only Taipei, instead of all of Taiwan’s 23 million people, he said.

Asked whether the proposal has made any progress, Blaauw said it was still in the initial phase.

The director of the American Institute in Taiwan’s Taipei office functions as the US’ de facto ambassador to Taiwan, but the director’s appointment, unlike ambassadors to other nations, does not require approval from the US Senate, he said.

The association would like to see the appointment of directors made to be subject to Senate approval, he added.

The association also supports the establishment of official diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the US, Blaauw said.

He made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation led by Michael Tsai (蔡明憲), head of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, which is in the US to campaign for Taiwan to join the UN and is looking to meet with officials from the US Department of State and the US Department of Defense, as well as members of US Congress.

The delegation hopes to discuss the name change and exchange views with US officials on bilateral relations between Taiwan and the US, Tsai said.

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