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Taipei sticking to 'Taiwan' as country name in accord with Prague

2019/11/15 19:48:35

Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) Taipei and Prague are hoping to sign a pact on sisterhood ties, and Taipei continues to insist on using "Taiwan" in the accord as suggested by the Czech Republic's foreign ministry, city government spokesman Tom Chou (周台竹) said Friday.

The draft agreement, which formally describes Taipei as "the City of Taipei, Taiwan," has been stalled in the Taipei City Council since early November.

Some councilors, mostly from the Kuomintang (KMT), have insisted on using "the Republic of China (ROC)" -- the official name of the country -- in place of "Taiwan."

Taipei authorities are still hoping, however, to get the pact through in the near future.

Chou said the city government will do its best to convince city councilors to accept the wording when screening the draft agreement next week.

The name used in the draft agreement was decided by Prague, and changing it might turn what should be a city-to-city exchange into a political issue, according to Chou.

He said it would not be the first time that the city government signed an accord with a foreign counterpart and used the name "Taiwan" in the document.

"Taiwan" has appeared in previous agreements clinched between Taipei (all under KMT mayors) and Penang in Malaysia, Manila in the Philippines, Houston and Los Angeles in the United States and Helsinki in Finland, he noted.

According to Czech media outlet Denik, the Czech government agrees to the usage of the term.

It cited Martin Churavy, head of international relations and protocol in Prague, as saying his city asked the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs how to address Taipei, and it suggested "the City of Taipei, Taiwan" -- the same term Taipei used in the draft agreement.

Chou told CNA said the city government had not been informed of the development, but if it is true, it indicates that the Czech government supports Prague on this issue, he said.

Taipei City Councilor Angela Ying (應曉薇) of the KMT told CNA Friday that she supports sisterhood ties with Prague, but the agreement's content must be consistent with the country's constitution, and should at least mention the "ROC" after the word "Taiwan."

The Prague City Council is scheduled to review the sisterhood agreement in December.

Relations between the Czech Republic and China have been tense in recent months because of Taiwan.

In October, Prague suspended its sister city ties with Beijing over the "one China provision" included in the agreement that demands Prague recognize Taiwan as an inseparable part of China.

In retaliation, Beijing canceled performances to be staged by four Czech music groups in China.

Also, Jaroslay Kubera, president of the Senate of the Czech parliament, attended a National Day celebration event at Taiwan's representative office in Prague last month, triggering a protest from China's ambassador to the country.

(By Flor Wang, Lin Yu-li and Chen Yi-hsuan)
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