Fri, Dec 07, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT criticizes MOFA for offices’ Facebook changes

POLITICAL PANDERING:Tang Te-ming said that if representative offices use the name ‘Taiwan,’ it could result in unnecessary conflict with friendly countries

By Shih Hsiao-kuang, Lu Yi-hsuan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday panned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for pandering to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) ideology and attempting to remove all mention of the Republic of China (ROC).

Acting KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Tang Te-ming (唐德明) made the critique in a press release after several of the nation’s representative offices on Wednesday updated their Facebook profile pictures with one the ministry had provided.

The ministry template contains a painted outline of the nation and the word “Taiwan,” the letters of which are in different colors to symbolize the nation’s acceptance of a multicultural and multiethnic society, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told a news conference in Taipei.

The offices are also applying to Facebook to change their official names from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office to “Taiwan in X,” or the equivalent in the language of the country in which the office is located in, with X corresponding with the office location.

The ministry was demoralizing the diplomatic corps and pandering to DPP ideology, Tang said, adding that unnecessary misunderstanding and conflicts with countries that have an amicable disposition toward Taiwan could arise due to the incident.

The ministry, the government agency that should be most concerned with national interests abroad, is busy replacing the ROC with Taiwan, while representative offices and embassies are afraid to openly display the name of the nation and the national flag, he said.

The ministry must rescind its suggestions and allow the diplomatic corps full freedom to design their Facebook pages, Tang said.

In response to allegations by former representative to the US Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) and Tang that the ministry was pandering to the DPP’s ideology and attempting to remove all mention of the ROC, Lee said that it is without a doubt the official name of the country.

However, the use of “Taiwan” in reference to the ROC for the international community is a general trend, Lee said, adding that it would enable the international community to become acclimatized to the fact that the “ROC is Taiwan, and Taiwan is the ROC.”

The suggestion is meant as a more hands-on promotion of the nation, and people should not read too much into the act, Lee said, adding that it has not damaged national sovereignty in any way.

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