Papua New Guinea kowtows to China days after Taiwan earthquake

On heels of deadly quake, Papua New Guinea kowtows to pressure from Beijing to change name of Taiwan representative office 


Official website of Taiwan's representative office in Papua New Guinea.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday lodged a protest with the government of Papua New Guinea after it submitted to pressure from Beijing to remove "Republic of China" from its representative office, among other punitive measures, and condemned the timing for being too close to last week's deadly Hualien Earthquake, reported CNA

At a press briefing yesterday (Feb. 12), MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) expressed Taiwan's deep dissatisfaction and regret over the pressure China's government placed on Papua New Guinea to change the name of Taiwan's representative office in the country, as well as remove signs with the original name and confiscate diplomatic plates from cars of Taiwan's diplomats at the de facto embassy. 

Lee reiterated his delegation's regret that the move was made while Taiwan is still suffering from the traumatic disaster in Hualien. The high-profile announcement of the suppression of Taiwan in the diplomatic field has hurt the feelings of the people of Taiwan and "has even drawn antipathy," said Lee. 

Sunday night, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its official Wechat site announced that the Papua New Guinea government ordered Taiwan's representative office change its name to the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Papua New Guinea," as well as remove the signage and diplomatic plates. At a press conference on Sunday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) praised the choreographed move, saying "China's government expresses its high recognition and appreciation of Papua New Guinea's following of the one China principle when dealing with Taiwan-related problems."

In addition, Lee indicated that since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Taiwan and the Papua New Guinea government in 1989, a business delegation was established in 1990 in Port Moresby, the country's capital, under the official name "The Trade Mission of the Republic of China (on Taiwan) in Papua New Guinea." Over the years, the two sides have maintained close exchanges and cooperation in agricultural technology, medical care and talent training, said Lee.

Meanwhile, the website of Taiwan's representative office in Papua New Guinea has remained defiantly unchanged.