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China Warns Taiwan About Passports

January 15, 2002

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BEIJING (AP) _ China warned Taiwan on Tuesday against using a decision to print ``Taiwan″ on its passports as a step toward formal independence from the mainland.

But Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi did not say Beijing objected to the change, which adds ``Issued in Taiwan″ to passport covers below ``Republic of China″ _ Taiwan’s formal name.

Nor did Sun express the outrage that many in Taiwan had feared from Beijing, which views the island as part of its territory. The two sides split in 1949 during a civil war.

``This attempt, should it develop in the direction of Taiwan’s independence, is doomed to failure,″ Sun said at a regular press briefing.

``Any attempt to separate Taiwan from the Chinese motherland, in any form, will be strongly objected to by the whole Chinese people,″ he said.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian said Sunday that the passports should be changed because Taiwanese long have been insulted when customs officials mistook them for citizens of communist China. China’s official name is the People’s Republic of China, while Taiwan is called the Republic of China.

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