The Taiwanese authorities have announced changes in the design of the passport, expanding the word “Taiwan” and reducing the words “Republic of China”.
Authorities said the overhaul was aimed at ending confusion between its nationals and Chinese citizens.
The island is for all practical purposes an independent state, but China considers it a breakaway province.
A spokeswoman for the Beijing Foreign Ministry said that would not change the fact that Taiwan is an “inalienable part of China.”
Officials unveiled the new passports in a ceremony on Wednesday.
The English words Republic of China – the official name for Taiwan – will be moved from the top of the cover to surround the national emblem in a smaller font, and the English word Taiwan will be larger and bolder.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, “our people have continued to hope that we could give more importance to the visibility of Taiwan, preventing people from mistakenly thinking they are from China,” the minister said. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
While countries have imposed travel bans in a bid to tackle the outbreak, they have placed the same restrictions on travelers from Taiwan as from China, authorities said.
The spread of Covid-19 has brought the Taiwan conflict back to the fore.
Although he has been praised by the international community for his handling of the health crisis, he is not a member of the World Health Organization (WHO). China has not allowed him to attend any WHO meeting since 2016.
Taiwan has been governing itself since 1949, when the mainland government fled to the island after it was defeated by the Communist Party in the civil war in China. It has its own democratically elected government, its own army and its own currency.
But as part of the One China policy, the Beijing government insists it is Taiwan’s rightful ruler. He says the territory will one day return under his leadership – by force if necessary.
Few countries diplomatically recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, and China has reacted with fury when countries, dignitaries or companies suggested it.
Milos Vystrcil, President of the Senate in the Czech Republic, visited Taiwan on Tuesday. He delivered a speech to his parliament announcing his support and declaring “I am Taiwanese” – a reference to the famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech by US President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi denounced the decision, saying Mr Vystrcil had “crossed a red line” and said he would “pay a heavy toll”.
It happened just weeks after US cabinet member Alex Azar visited Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-wen. The Secretary of Health and Human Services was the most senior American politician to hold meetings on the island for decades.
“China strongly opposes any official interaction between the United States and Taiwan,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said when announcing the visit.
“We urge the United States … not to send the wrong signals to the elements of ‘Taiwan independence’ to avoid serious damage to Sino-US relations.”