TAIPEI (Reuters)-Taiwan launched a newly designed passport on Monday to give more prominence to Taiwan’s daily name, with the aim of avoiding confusion with China amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Beijing’s intensified efforts to assert sovereignty.
The official name of the existing Taiwan passport is “Republic of China”, written in large English fonts at the top, and “Taiwan” printed at the bottom, which has caused international confusion.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Taiwan said that some citizens were confused with Chinese citizens. Although the disease was well controlled in China, Taiwan was sometimes treated unfairly under the same entry ban related to COVID-1
Consular Bureau Chief Ye Ye told Reuters that as of noon on Monday, they had received more than 700 applications for new passports, which usually averaged 1,000 per day.
She said: “The purpose of this is to increase Taiwan’s popularity so that our people will not be mistaken for Chinese when they travel abroad.”
Li Liting, one of the first applicants for a new passport, said the change was “remarkable.”
He said: “I think this will happen sooner or later. Sooner or later, the word Taiwan will increase. In the future, the Republic of China may disappear.”
China is referring to the new passport. It says it does not matter what “small actions” Taiwan takes. It will not change the fact that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. China claims democratic Taiwan as its sovereign territory and only expresses the right to speak for Taiwan internationally. This is a position strongly promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) during the pandemic.
(Reporting by Li Yimou and Wang An; writing by Ben Blanchard; editing by Huang Biyu)