It seems these days that while large nations kowtow to China, small nations show that they can stand up to China: the latest example is Iceland. In mid-October 1997, the islandµs Prime Minister, David Oddsson, ignored Chinese protests and went ahead with a meeting with Taiwan's vice president Lien Chan.
Mr. Lien visited Iceland from October 6th - 11th and held meetings to discuss strengthening economic relations between Iceland and Taiwan.
Prime Minister Oddsson stated that Chinaµs reaction had been totally out of proportion. He told the Chinese ambassador that Iceland was an independent nation, and would not let other people decide with whom it could talk.
During his 12-day trip, Mr. Lien also visited Austria, but had to cancel a visit to Spain, after Spain succumbed to Chinese pressure.
Taiwan Communiqué comment: Iceland's courage stands out as an example to those nations, including the United States and most nations of Western Europe, whose leaders lack such courage, and who let their policies be dictated by China.
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 "Taiwan" as the official 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 September 1997 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 aimed 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, 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.
Taiwan Communiqué comment: While the display of communist China's red five-star flag was a most embarrassing error for Lee and his entourage, it was clearly the result of the perpetuation of the Kuomintang's own outdated policies.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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