Taiwan protests against Taiwanese sights in China passports

Protest too late and too weak: DPP

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Mainland Affairs Council protested Friday against the appearance of Taiwanese sights, including Sun Moon Lake, on the pages of new passports issued by the People’s Republic of China, calling it damaging to mutual trust.
Page 43 of the new document reportedly included pictures of the lake and of the Chingshui Cliff on the coast of Hualien County, according to a report first published by Britain’s Financial Times last Wednesday.
Vietnam and the Philippines reportedly already protested Thursday against the inclusion of disputed islands in the South China Sea in the same passports, but Taiwan waited until Friday, inviting criticism from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.
“China including the two sights in its passports amounted to behavior inciting a dispute and damaged the basis for mutual trust between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits,” the MAC said in an official ‘grave declaration.’
The two scenic sights “were part of the territory of the Republic of China and did not fall under the control of Mainland China,” the statement said.
The presence of the pictures in the passports not only did not conform to reality, but would also hurt the feelings of the 23 million Taiwanese, the MAC said, adding that the government could absolutely not accept it.
The MAC declaration went on to state that the Republic of China was a sovereign and independent nation with its own clearly defined territory according to the Constitution. China should respect the fact that the two sides of the Taiwan Straits were administrated by different governments, and should put disputes aside while respecting the facts, the MAC said.
The Cabinet body called on Beijing to avoid giving the outside world the feeling that it wanted to change the existing situation unilaterally and destroy the results of improving cross-straits relations achieved by hard work. China’s attitude could throw up barriers and even cause mutual interaction to regress, the MAC concluded.
DPP lawmakers criticized the government for its belated and weak response to the issue. While Manila and Hanoi had made forceful protests, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Steve Hsia referred the case to the MAC. Before issuing the official protest, spokesman Liu Te-shun said the MAC had put across its views to China using regular channels of communication.
If the government did not even protest against Taiwan’s territory being included in Chinese passports, then the Republic of China had truly been destroyed, DPP lawmaker Tsai Chi-chang said. He accused President Ma Ying-jeou of using double standards when forcefully defending sovereignty over the Tiaoyutai Islands against Japan while failing to take action against China.
The Philippines said it would not recognize the new passports, which might be issued to millions of PRC citizens and remain valid for ten years. Japan had also looked at the documents, but the drawing of the disputed Tiaoyutai was reportedly too small, so it had decided not to turn the passports into an issue.