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Naming warship 'Baozhen' will protect it from Chinese attack: diplomat

2015/01/07 22:52:53

A Perry-class frigate. CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 7 (CNA) Shen Lyushun, Taiwan's representative to the United States, said Wednesday that if Taiwan names one of its new warships after his great-great-grandfather Shen Baozhen, China would think twice about attacking the vessel.

Speaking tongue-in-cheek at a legislative hearing, the diplomat said his great-great-grandfather commanded high respect in China, having served as the viceroy of Liangjiang (Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Anhui) in the late Qing Dynasty, and was known as the founder of the Imperial Navy at the time.

His remarks prompted laughter in the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee of the Legislative Yuan.

On Dec. 18, U.S. President Barrack Obama signed into law the Navy Vessels Transfer Act of 2013, which authorized the sale of four U.S. Perry-class frigates to Taiwan.

At the legislative hearing, opposition lawmaker Tsai Huang-liang asked Shen Lyushun about local news reports that one of the frigates will be named after Shen Baozhen in honor of his contribution to Taiwan's development during his service in the Qing dynasty.

Shen Lyushun was called back from Washington to answer questions in the Legislature after he and his staff raised eyebrows in Washington when they hoisted the ROC flag at a Taiwan property there on Jan. 1.

It was a sensitive issue as it could be perceived as a gesture by Taiwan to officially display sovereign status in defiance of Beijing's stance on its sovereignty over the island and the fact that Taipei and Washington do not have diplomatic ties.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Tang Pei-chun ad Maubo Chang)