Tired of being confused with the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing’s increased efforts to enforce sovereignty for China, Taiwan said on Wednesday it would redesign its passport to give the island’s name more meaning.
Taiwan has complained during the outbreak that its nationals were having difficulty entering other countries as Taiwanese passports carry the words “Republic of China”, the formal name of which is written in large English at the top and “Taiwan” printed at the bottom.
The new passport, which is expected to go into circulation in January, removes the large English words “Republic of China”, although the name is retained in Chinese characters, and expands the word “Taiwan” in English.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said new passports were needed to prevent their nationals from being confused with Chinese citizens, especially given the tightened immigration controls many countries have begun since the pandemic began.
“Since the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak started this year, our people have been hoping that we can bring Taiwan’s visibility to the fore to avoid people mistakenly believing they are from China,” Wu told reporters.
China claims democratic Taiwan as its territory, saying only it has the right to speak internationally for the island, a position it has strongly advocated during the pandemic, particularly at the World Health Organization.
Taipei said this has confused countries, leading them to impose the same restrictions on Taiwanese travelers as Chinese ones, and minimizing Taiwan’s own successful efforts to fight the virus and the far smaller number of cases.
Taiwan has debated who it is and what exactly its relationship with China should be for years – including the island’s name. But the pandemic has brought the issue back into the spotlight.[nL8N2BP2D0]
The government is also considering changing the name – or at least completely redesigning it – for Taiwan’s largest airline, China Airlines <2610.TW>to avoid confusion with China.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)