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August 22, 2017

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Tsai's hand is at play in academy naming spat

Vice President Chen Chien-jen was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) last Tuesday. So was Cyrus Chu, Taiwan's representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Both of them, however, said the NAS designation of their nationality as "Taiwan, China" was unacceptable. They did not protest. Nor did they say they would not accept the membership, if the NAS should decide not to change their nationality to something they like.

On the other hand, Chen Ding-shinn, one of the NAS members who nominated the vice president, said he would write to his American scientific organization to request a revision of the entry. The nominator won membership as a foreign associate in 2005 like the vice president and the Chinese Taipei ambassador last week . He pointed out that the NAS has always referred to just "Taiwan" in the nationality designation of its members from the Republic of China. He believes it may be an oversight on the part of

the NAS to designate the two new members as nationals of "Taiwan, China."

Would the NAS accept its "oversight"? Next to impossible. The reason is not hard to find. The Republic of China was ousted from the United Nations in 1971. In deference to the claim of the People's Republic of China, the United Nations for official purposes calls the Taiwan area "Taiwan,

Province of China." Hence "Taiwan, China."

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