Bringing “the Republic of China (Taiwan)” onto the global stage is essential to the government’s diplomatic efforts, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) criticized a social media post by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allegedly praising the absence of the “Republic of China” (ROC) title on an official name plate.
The ministry in a Facebook post on Monday celebrated the opening of the Taiwan Representative Office in the Republic of Somaliland.
A Chinese-language hashtag in the post read that it was a “pleasant” sight that the office’s name plate only uses “Taiwan” without “other redundant words.”
The ROC is recognized by 15 countries, former KMT spokeswoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, asking if the nation’s loss of seven allies over the past four years resulted from the ministry’s efforts to remove redundancy.
The party is not questioning the ministry’s use of the word “pleasant,” but rather the post’s content, KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) told a news conference yesterday, urging the ministry to explain if it perceives the ROC as a redundancy.
If the ministry really considers the ROC a redundancy, it should propose amendments to the Constitution or the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), KMT caucus secretary-general Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said.
The ministry respects the creativity of the editor managing its Facebook posts, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news conference in Taipei on Tuesday.
The office in Hargeisa is the nation’s only representative office using “Taiwan” in its name, which is significant, she added.
Responding to the controversy again yesterday, Ou said that a representative office’s naming is predicated on the consensus between Taiwan and the host country.
The ministry has never said that ROC represents redundant words, she said, calling on people not to politicize the social media post.
Tsai said that the ministry has explained the matter, emphasizing that the ROC is “absolutely not a redundancy.”
The purpose of diplomatic and international events is to bring the ROC (Taiwan) to the world, Tsai said.
Tsai has been increasingly using the word “Taiwan” in her official speeches delivered in Mandarin.
In her first inaugural speech in May 2016, she referred to the nation as the “ROC,” while in her second inaugural speech in May, she used “Taiwan” more often than the “ROC,” Chinese-language transcripts of her speeches showed.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng and CNA
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