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U.K. renames representative office in Taiwan, retains functions

2015/05/27 18:05:33

Taipei, May 27 (CNA) The United Kingdom has changed the name of its representative office in Taiwan from the British Trade and Cultural Office (BTCO) to the British Office to better reflect its services.

"This is purely a change of title. It is not a change of functions," U.K. representative to Taiwan Chris Wood told reporters at a luncheon Wednesday.

The name change took effect Tuesday, he said, describing it as "a re-branding."

"We felt that the old name, the British Trade and Cultural Office, did not adequately describe what we do," Wood said.

He said people did not really understand what the name meant and often did not recognize it as that of a government office.

"The British Office better reflects the full scope of our work," which ranges from providing services to British citizens in Taiwan to facilitating cooperation in science and innovation, combating climate change, supporting U.K. trade with Taiwan and encouraging Taiwanese investment in the U.K., Wood said.

The renaming of the office can be seen as a positive development in Taiwan-U.K. relations, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The two countries will continue to cooperate in various fields, based on a solid foundation, the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

During the media luncheon, Wood also said that the outcome the U.K. general elections earlier this month is not likely to result "in any change in the U.K.'s long-standing policy towards Taiwan."

"So we now have a majority Conservative government, with many ministers reappointed to their previous positions," he said.

The U.K. government's key priorities remain as before -- stimulating the British economy, and boosting the U.K.'s trade and exports, Wood said.

Taiwan and the U.K have been forging stronger economic links and deepening cooperation on climate change issues and technology, he said.

He also noted that there has been an increase in the frequency of visits by senior British officials and parliamentarians to Taiwan.

In January, for example, U.K. Minister of State for Transport Baroness Susan Kramer led the largest-ever British rail industry mission to Taiwan, in an effort to boost bilateral cooperation in the sector, while a group of British parliamentarians visited Taiwan last week to discuss abolition of the death penalty in Taiwan, Wood said.

(By Elaine Hou)