Wrong flag for Lee Teng-hui

Honduras confusion about "Republic of China"

Washington, 12 September 1997

As is well-known, the Kuomintang authorities on Taiwan still refer to their government as "Republic of China", while the democratic opposition has long argued to discard this confusing and anachronistic name, and adopt the name "Taiwan" as name of the country.

How confusing the "Republic of China" name is to anyone not steeped in the KMT's lingo, became apparent during President Lee Teng-hui's recent visit to Honduras, when the authorities there welcomed him with full-page greetings in local newspapers -- adorned with the flag of Communist "People's Republic of China" !!!

Honduras was the second stop on Lee's four-nation Latin American tour, which aims to boost Taiwan's international standing and loosen a diplomatic embargo engineered by Beijing.

As newspapers in Tegucigalpa rectified this error in subsequent editions, one Tegucigalpa daily committed another by portraying Lee as being married to the wrong woman. Taiwan media cheekily reproduced a Welcome-to-Honduras advertisement on Thursday, featuring a picture of "President Lee and First Lady.'' But Taiwan's first lady Tseng Wen-huei was nowhere to be seen. The "wife'' was Yu-Chen Yue-ying, the former DPP opposition magistrate of southern Kaohsiung county.

The display of communist China's red five-star flag was most embarrassing error for Lee and his entourage, but clearly the result of the perpetuation of the Kuomintang's own outdated policies. It is time for Taiwan to call itself "Taiwan", and for the international community to accept it as a full member.

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