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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Strait Times > Chen wants name change - from 'ROC' to 'Taiwan'

TAIPEI (Taiwan) - Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian said on Friday that this island's official name, Republic of China, or the ROC, is confusing and that he just wants to call it Taiwan during trips abroad - a remark that Beijing might interpret as a new step towards formal independence.
'When we just say 'Taiwan,' everyone understands where we are,' Mr Chen told reporters while visiting Belize.
The island's name is a constant subject of emotional debate and controversy. The Republic of China was the national title mainland China used when it was ruled by the Nationalist Party.
But when the Communists took control of the mainland in 1949 and forced the Nationalists to retreat to Taiwan, the new Chinese government changed China's name to the People's Republic of China. However, Taiwan has kept alive the ROC title.
Some believe Taiwan should scrap the title because it causes confusion abroad, arguing that foreigners frequently mistake the Republic of China for the communist mainland. They also say that after five decades of separation from China, Taiwan has evolved into a new country that deserves a new name.
Mr Chen said that several other countries, such as Chile, also use the abbreviation ROC and it's confusing to foreigners. He also noted that Taiwan uses the title 'Chinese Taipei' when participating in the Olympics and other global events. But he said this name also had problems.
Mr Chen emphasised that he wasn't scuttling the ROC title. 'Taiwan simply stands for the Republic of China,' he said.
Beijing has warned that changing the island's name might be interpreted as a big step towards a permanent split - a move they have said could spark a war. -- AP
From the Strai Times:,4390,270725,00.html?

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