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May 30, 2017

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MOFA moves to call all top envoys serving overseas 'ambassadors'

The China Post--The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it recently decided to unify the official titles used by diplomats stationed overseas to simplify the complex and sometimes confusing diplomatic title system.

The foreign ministry moved to unify the official titles for overseas representatives at countries that have official ties with Taiwan and those without such ties as the previous system was too complicated, MOFA spokesman Steve Hsia told local media yesterday.

The title-unification, however, was only meant to be used internally, Hsia said.

MOFA's clarification came after a Chinese-language report yesterday that said the foreign ministry has decided to use the title "ambassador" for its top envoys stationed at countries without official ties following the recent passage of an amendment to the Organic Statute For Diplomatic Missions (駐外機關組織通則).

The report, however, said the name change could raise protests from those nations that officially recognize Beijing and not Taipei, causing a diplomatic row.

Asked to comment, Hsai yesterday said that all top Taiwanese envoys stationed abroad are the de facto ambassadors no matter what their official titles are.

The title-unification will not affect Taiwan's diplomatic missions overseas in anyway, he added.

Taiwan now has official diplomatic ties with 23 countries.

The heads of the Taiwanese representative offices at those countries that lack bilateral ties are usually called directors and deputy directors instead of ambassadors and ministers.

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