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Poking China in the eye, US considering adding “Taiwan” to rep office name

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (Photo courtesy: Taiwan Foreign Ministry)

The US is "seriously considering" allowing Taiwan to change the name of its representative office in Washington. The change will allow Taipei to add the word 'Taiwan' to its representative office.

Taiwan News says that the inclusion of the word 'Taiwan' will certainly anger Beijing, which has stoutly resisted giving recognition to its tiny eastern neighbour for the past nearly seven decades. China has remained steadfast in not allowing recognition to Taiwan as a separate country.

The newspaper said that White House is "seriously considering" a request by the Taiwan government to change the name of its representative office from 'Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office' (TECRO) to 'Taiwan Representative Office.' Taiwan had requested the US for a change in the name of its Washington mission in March. 

Though the change of name has wide acceptance in the US, it is yet to be approved by US President Joe Biden. An apprehension is whether the name change will at all further the cause of Taiwan's recognition or will it inflame tensions between the US and China, which are currently at their worst after decades of mutual acceptance and cooperation.

China, which continues to be driven by the Communist Party of China, despite its integration with the globe at large, has remained opposed to other countries formalising their relations with Taiwan or international bodies granting it legitimacy. This is despite the fact that Taiwan has remained sovereign and democratic over the decades and poses no threat to China.

Though many countries have opened their offices in Taiwan and have a healthy trade, economic and cultural relationship with the country, they have desisted from according Taipei a formal recognition due to sustained opposition from Beijing.

China has opposed international organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other nations which maintain close relations with Taiwan.

Recently, Taiwan opened its office in Lithuania under the name 'Taiwanese Representative Office' which led to a breakdown in relations between Beijing and Vilnius.

However, there has been a steady pushback against Chinese efforts to marginalise Taiwan. 

Japanese news agency Kyodo News reports that "The United States switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. But under the Taiwan Relations Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1979, Washington maintains substantive though unofficial relations with Taiwan and supplies the island with billions of dollars worth of arms and spare parts for its defense".

Despite a change in the US administration from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, the latter has largely continued to follow his predecessor's policies over China and Taiwan. Biden has kept the pressure on China over its human rights record in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong as well as continued the trade war.

Japan is another country that has vociferously called for support to Taiwan. It has simultaneously kept the pressure on Beijing against undertaking any misadventure regarding Taiwan. Japanese ministers have gone to the extent of publicly saying that if China attacks Taiwan, it will be forced to intervene.

Japanese leadership says Japan and US must jointly defend Taiwan against China