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US may rename Taiwan's mission, says congressman

Longtime supporter of Taiwan Steve Chabot 'cautiously optimistic' about name upgrade

Congressman Steve Chabot says Taiwan's representative office in Washington could be renamed. (CNA photo)

Congressman Steve Chabot says Taiwan's representative office in Washington could be renamed. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Congressman Steve Chabot confirmed in a CNA interview on Sunday (Oct. 3) that it was possible "Taiwan" could be part of the official name of its representative office in Washington.

The Biden administration has been considering changing the name from Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) to Taiwan Representative Office, according to the Financial Times. The renaming proposal is reported to have "wide support" from those inside the National Security Council and state department Asia officials, as well as White House Asia adviser Kurt Campbell.

Steve Chabot, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation, said, “ there is a real possibility” of renaming the country's mission. He added this was a reasonable proposal.

The congressman was reluctant to give a timeframe for the name change, admitting there are still numerous factors in play, including dealing with China's ire. However, Chabot said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the renaming.

Congress largely supports the name-changing proposal but is “yet to reach a consensus level,” Chabot said. He first backed the proposal in 2003 and said he was determined to see it through.

Chabot noted that some opponents considered the name change “meaningless." He responded that when it comes to cross-strait issues, to an extent "symbolism is substance.” He added that whatever Taiwan does will trigger an angry response from Beijing, so the U.S. should continue regardless.

Chabot implemented the "Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act" with Brad Sherman in May, advocating the name change for the nations’ mission in Washington. The bipartisan pro-Taiwan Act later was wrapped up into the Anti-China EAGLE Act and was passed by the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs in mid-July.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou had no comment on the proposal but thanked Taiwan’s friends in Congress for their support. “Taiwan will continue to maintain close communication with the U.S. in a pragmatic manner, and uphold the principles of mutual trust, reciprocity and mutual benefit,” the spokesperson said.

Ou added the deepening of Taiwan-U.S. relations in recent years is evident to all. Furthermore, she said, this was a long-standing goal of Taiwan's government.

Updated : 2022-01-20 20:26 GMT+08:00