KMT responds to new Taiwan passport design

Kuomintang calls new design a missed opportunity to 'showcase Taiwan to the world'

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New Taiwan passport design. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs photo)

New Taiwan passport design. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Kuomintang (KMT) responded to Wednesday’s (Sept. 2) unveiling of the new national passport design by saying that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration missed an opportunity to advertise the nation to the world due to its focus on its own ideological and political considerations.

The Cabinet on Wednesday morning revealed the new version of the passport, which features a scaled-down “Republic of China” encircling the national sun emblem with the word “Taiwan” printed in a larger font underneath. According to the Cabinet, the passport will be issued starting next January.

Minister of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) emphasized that the words “Taiwan” and “passport” should be arranged close together to make it absolutely clear that the document is a Taiwanese passport, CNA reported.

The KMT issued a press release later that day stating that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had once again acted ideologically by minimizing the importance of the nation’s official name, “Republic of China,” on the passport cover, all but eliminating it from the document. This revisionism does not make traveling more convenient for Taiwanese passport holders or even elevate Taiwan’s international status; instead, it reveals the narrowmindedness of the DPP, the party said.

The KMT stated that the passport design should take into account Taiwan’s special circumstances and official English name, adding that the previous design took both of these into consideration.

If the DPP’s intent was to highlight Taiwan, then there was no need to diminish its official name, the opposition party remarked. It lamented that by reducing the name to a decorative pattern — one that is almost unnoticeable without a magnifying glass — the “Republic of China” has missed a chance to include itself in the international community and "showcase Taiwan to the world."

The party further stated that the current passport already contains the word "Taiwan." It also pointed out that the colors of the Taiwanese and Chinese passports are completely different, leaving little chance that foreign countries could confuse the two.

If MOFA is worried that Taiwan’s official name may be confused with the People’s Republic of China, it should make every effort to explain the difference to other countries and increase the international community’s awareness of the “Republic of China.”