Saturday, 17 March 2007

What's in a name?

WTO denies changing Taiwan's official title

03/14/2007  (Taiwan News)

The World Trade Organization reiterated Monday that it only uses nomenclature that was agreed upon when Taiwan entered the organization in 2001 and that it will continue to do so, refuting allegations that under Chinese pressure, the organization changed Taiwan's official title in a recent international meeting.

According to news reports from Taipei, Taiwan's title was changed to "Taiwan Province of China" in all documents circulated at a global fisheries subsidies meeting held in Geneva March 1-2 under the auspices of the WTO and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately protested Beijing's latest "political plot" to downgrade Taiwan's international status and also called for the WTO to show respect for the rights and interests of every member country of the WTO.

Asked to comment on the controversy, WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said the complaints arising over the use of nomenclature are based on "a lack of understanding of the facts," as the meeting in question was not a WTO event.

The two-day seminar on "Disciplining Fisheries Subsidies" was co-hosted by the UNEP and the world conservation group WWF, with fishery experts and officials of WTO member states participating.

"The WTO always uses the nomenclature which was agreed upon when Chinese Taipei acceded in 2001, and it will continue to do so," Rockwell stressed.

Taiwan's formal title in the WTO is "the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu," also referred to as "Chinese Taipei."

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