Taipei, Sep 2 (efe-epa).- The government of Taiwan on Wednesday launched a new passport design, set to be issued from January, highlighting the name “Taiwan” in Latin characters, instead of the country’s official name “Republic of China,” which often led to confusions with the neighboring People’s Republic of China.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in a press conference on Tuesday that the new design kept most elements of the earlier passport, but on the cover highlighted the English word “Taiwan,” which was also moved closer to the word “passport” to make it clear that it was a Taiwanese passport.
With the move, authorities aim to highlight the red line that separates the island from the government in Beijing, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a territory that has had an autonomous government since 1949.
Wu said that the redesign was in response to a resolution passed in the parliament that called for highlighting the word “Taiwan” over “China” in the passport.
The opposition party Kuomintang – which has a pro-China image – had opposed the move and accused the government of playing “ideological games” and “nearly erasing” the country’s official name.
Meanwhile Cheng Yun-peng, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, said that the vision of the country presented in the passport was the one widely accepted by the population.
Around 170 countries across the world have visa-free travel programs for Taiwanese citizens, including Japan, the United States, Canada and members of the European Union.
According to local media reports, the Taiwanese passports is highly valued in the black market, with an estimated value of $10,000-$100,000. EFE-EPA