Taiwan Representative Office (TRO)

Rename TECRO to TRO

Taiwanese Americans believe that the current title of Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington DC, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), does not reflect the sovereignty of Taiwan. The U.S. could learn from the experience of Japan, which successfully resisted PRC pressure and renamed its “embassy” in Taiwan from “Interchange Association” into “Japan-Taiwan Interchange Association” in 2017. Lastly, referring to Taiwan as “Taiwan” is consistent with U.S. policy. We therefore seek Congress’ support to rename TECRO to TRO.

Background

The name Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) was initiated by the KMT government in 1994 to replace the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA), and later approved by the Clinton Administration. Although it was a great leap forward since the US severed its diplomatic relations with Taiwan, it gradually fails to keep up with the mainstream national identity of the Taiwanese people. Most importantly, the name of the de facto embassy cannot reflect the objective reality that Taiwan exists as an independent country.

Consistent with U.S. Policy

In the Taiwan Guidelines of 1990, the State Department stated: “Consistent with the unofficial nature of U.S.-Taiwan ties, the U.S. Government no longer refers to Taiwan as the "Republic of China" — a term reflecting Taipei's continuing claim to be the government of China. Nor does the U.S. Government refer to Taiwan as a "country" or a "government." We refer to Taiwan simply as Taiwan, and to its leadership as "the Taiwan authorities.”

Countering the Dominance of the One China Principle

Having a TRO in DC can be a countermeasure against the dominance of the One China Principle. From 2017 to 2018, the PRC pressured Taiwan’s non-diplomatic allies in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America to drop the name Taiwan or Republic of China from Taiwan’s embassies. For instance, Bahrain forcefully changed “Trade Mission of Taiwan to the Kingdom of Bahrain” into “Taipei Trade Office in the Kingdom of Bahrain.” In this sense, supporting TRO equals to countering the dominance of the One China Principle.

Japan-Taiwan Exchange Foundation. Why Can’t the U.S.?

The Japanese Government changed the name of its de facto Embassy in Taiwan from Interchange Association into Japan-Taiwan Exchange Foundation in 2017. Japan traditionally was more concerned about PRC’s retaliation against its Taiwan Policy. However, it seems today that Tokyo is more willing to bear the pressure from Beijing.

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