The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that it “cannot accept” the lack of a Republic of China flag on the Web site of the German Federal Foreign Office after a German reporter noticed that the flag was missing and brought it up at a news conference at the office in Berlin on Friday.
The ministry said that it has asked the office to explain the absence of the nation’s flag from the page on the Web site listing the nations with which Germany has bilateral relations.
The Web site showed a white box above the entry for Taiwan, in place of a flag.
Photo: Screen grab from the Web site of German Federal Foreign Office
Taiwan is the only nation on the Web site not to have its national flag displayed.
The office representing Taiwan in a different manner from how it represents other nations would cause prejudice and misunderstanding among people around the world, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in Taipei.
Office deputy spokesman Rainer Breul on Friday told the reporter that the lack of the flag did not represent a policy change in Germany, which follows the “one China” principle.
The site displayed a white box to differentiate Taiwan from nations with which Germany has formal diplomatic relations, Bruel said.
The German Institute Taipei said that the office’s Web site has never displayed the flag and the suggestion that the flag was removed under pressure from China was inaccurate.
The institute said that it hoped that the office could use an image symbolic of Taiwan, rather than simply leaving the space blank, but that officials who maintain the Web site can be slow in making changes.
The Taipei Representative Office in the Federal Republic of Germany confirmed that the German Federal Foreign Office had never displayed the national flag on its Web site, adding that in the past the site had not even listed Taiwan among bilateral nations and instead had placed it in a separate section on its own.
The site now properly lists Taiwan, its president, its premier and ministry officials, the representative office said, adding that it would continue to press for improved recognition of Taiwan within the German government.
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