Lee urges 'Taiwan' name change

Sunday, August 24, 2003
TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post Staff

Former President Lee Teng-hui yesterday claimed the Republic of China no longer existed, as he and pro-independence activists launched a campaign for the country to join the United Nations using a new national title — Taiwan.

“Our country is called Taiwan,” chanted participants at a gathering at a Taipei hotel where the campaign was launched.

“Call Taiwan, Taiwan,” and “Taiwan wants to march into the United Nations,” they continued.

The call to change the name of the nation from the Republic of China to Taiwan is gaining momentum every year and the whole world should support the cause, said Lee.

“The Republic of China in fact no longer exists,” Lee said.

Lee said President Chen Shui-bian thinks, but cannot say so because he is still in office.

“Now that I’ve retired, I have to say it out aloud: (the national title) should be changed into ‘Taiwan.’”

Lee will serve as chief convener of a committee organizing a massive march demonstration in front of the Presidential Office on Sept. 6 to promote the name change and Taiwan’s bid to join the U.N. under a new national title.

Lee said that Taiwan people need to think about the significance of rectifying the name of the nation.

“We are an independent sovereign state, but few countries recognize us because of... the relentless pressure from mainland China,” he said.

“A lot of countries are unable to develop normal relations with us and we cannot move toward the international community and receive the respect we deserve,” he said.

The lack of international recognition has hampered national development. The only way to break through the international isolation is to change the country’s name, he said.

He said that the wish to change the country’s name could not have been done in the past when Taiwan was ruled by alien regimes, including the Netherlands, Japan and the Republic of China, which he said “had nothing to do with Taiwan.”

“The old guards (of the Kuomintang) do not identify with Taiwan, and if they don’t identify with Taiwan’s culture, how can the nation develop?” he asked.

He said he believes the United States will support the movement, so will Japan and the rest of the world.

The Alliance to Campaign for Rectifying the Name of Taiwan said it first suggested the name change in 2002, setting that year as a campaign year, and this year as the action year.

Next year will be the harvest year, officials from the alliance said.

The alliance is calling for 100,000 dedicated Taiwan people to come forward to take part in the Sept. 6 rally.

Taking part in yesterday’s meeting were Examination Yuan chief Yao Chia-wen; Taiwan Independence Alliance Chairman Huang Chao-tang and Vice Chairman Huang Er-hsiuan; presidential advisers Huang Tien-lin, Chuan Po-lin, Huang Hua, Chou Ping-te, and Yang Chin-hai.

There were also legislators of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party: Chen Tang-shan and Chou Chin-yu; and Lin Chih-chia, secretary-general of the Taiwan Solidarity Union, which considers former President Lee as its spiritual leader.

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