After many years of controversy, Taiwan on Monday finally started issuing passports with the word "Taiwan" on the cover. The government's primary goal behind this move is to clearly tell the international community that the passport-holder comes from a high-income, democratic nation -- not from the People's Republic of China, for which Taiwan has long been mistaken. The old version of the passport only has "Republic of China" on the cover -- a name too close to "People's Republic of China." It is no wonder that immigration officers in many countries could not figure out the true origin of the passport-holders. This has resulted in countless problems for Taiwanese people traveling abroad.
\nHowever, this wise and reasonable act has long been blindly boycotted by politicians bent on the Great China ideology. It has also come under fire from the pro-unification media, which keep on saying that adding "Taiwan" to passports will raise Beijing's ire and incur retaliatory action. As a result, the process has been jeopardized and frustrated on many occasions. Only now, under the DPP administration, have we completed a process that helps the international community distinguish Taiwanese passports from Chinese ones.
\nOf course, passports are in the first place an indicator of sovereignty. The government has stated that the ROC's effective jurisdiction covers only Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, which are represented by "Taiwan." This is in accordance with history as well as the reality. There is nothing sneaky about it. Being residents of Taiwan, we must understand that the KMT's long-running claim that the ROC's territory includes Taiwan is a blatant lie. The ROC Constitution promulgated by Chiang Kai-shek (
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has over the past few months continued to escalate its hegemonic rhetoric and increase its incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. The US, in turn, has finally realized how its “strategic ambiguity” is increasingly wearing thin. Similarly, any hopes the US had that the PRC would be a responsible stakeholder and economic player have diminished, if not been abandoned. Taiwan, of course, remains as the same de facto independent, democratic nation that the PRC covets. As a result, the US needs to reconsider not only the amount, but also the type of arms
Taking advantage of my Taipei Times editors’ forbearance, I thought I would go with a change of pace by offering a few observations on an interesting nature topic, the many varieties of snakes in Taiwan. I will be drawing on my experiences living in Taiwan five times, from my teenage years in Kaohsiung back in the early sixties, to my last assignment as American Institute in Taiwan Director in 2006-9. Taiwan, with its semitropical climate, is a perfect setting for serpents. Indeed, one might say serpents are an integral part of the island’s ecosystem. Taiwan is warm, humid, with lots of
China constantly seeks out ways to complain about perceived slights and provocations as pretexts for its own aggressive behavior. It is both victimization paranoia and a form of information warfare that keeps the West on the defensive. True to form, China objected even to the innocuous reference to Taiwan at April 16’s summit meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Neither leader’s prepared remarks even mentioned Taiwan, out of deference to the Japanese side. Biden’s opening statement was modest: “Prime Minister Suga and I affirmed our ironclad support for US-Japanese alliance and for our shared security.
Last month, the Philippine National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea reported that more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels were anchored at the disputed Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea, known as Julian Felipe Reef in the Philippines. The task force released astonishing photographs, which showed clusters of enormous fishing trawlers at anchor and tied together in neat rows. Needless to say, the ships were not engaging in commercial fishing activity; they belong to China’s “maritime militia.” Beijing’s flimsy official explanation is that the vessels are temporarily seeking shelter from inclement weather. This is patently ridiculous, given the time that