With EU help, Taiwan secures rare victory in China naming dispute

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TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan expressed satisfaction on Monday and said the European Union had stepped in to help after a global alliance of mayors stopped referring to Taiwanese cities as part of China, in a rare victory for the island amid increasing Chinese pressure.

FILE PHOTO: Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu speaks at a press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, September 3, 2020. REUTERS / Ann Wang

China has stepped up efforts to get international groups and companies to refer on their websites and in official documents to democratic Taiwan, claimed by China, as part of China, to the wrath of the government of Taiwan and many of its inhabitants.

Over the weekend, Taiwanese officials expressed their anger after the Brussels-based Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy began listing its six member cities in Taiwan as belonging to China on its website. .

City mayors then wrote an open letter asking that the decision be overturned.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said after the protest the group reverted to its original designation of cities as part of Chinese Taipei, a name Taiwan uses in some international bodies like the Olympics to avoid objections. from Beijing to their participation.

The European Union “helped us in this effort,” Wu told parliament, without giving details.

“We are very happy that with everyone’s hard work the name has returned,” he said.

“While some people are not happy with the name, at least the way we participate is not placed under another country.

There was no immediate response from the EU.

The Global Compact, in a brief statement, blamed a “technical problem in the database” for the rebranding, which it said had now been fixed.

No EU member state has diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and the EU itself tends to keep a low profile when it comes to Taiwan, fearing to upset China, its second largest trading partner.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Taiwan was an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

“Cities in the Taiwan region should definitely be listed as Chinese,” he told reporters.

Report by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Cate Cadell in Beijing; Editing by Robert Birsel and Toby Chopra

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