To the annoyance of the US, usually dependable allies like Britain, France, and Australia
have signed on as founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a China-driven alternative to the World Bank. Not so for another American ally: China has rejected Taiwan’s bid to join as a founding member.
The sticking point? What to call Taiwan if it were accepted.
China-Taiwan naming diplomacy is complicated. Taiwan’s official name is the “Republic of China,” and it has been since it split with the mainland after the Chinese Civil War. For China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province, that name is unacceptable. That’s why Taiwan is usually referred to as “Chinese Taipei” or “Taipei, China” in international venues like the Olympics.
Calling it simply “Taiwan” is also off-limits as, in China’s mind, it appears to elevate the island to nation-state status.
What’s odd in the case of the AIIB is that Taiwanese officials claim that they were rejected despite saying they were willing to be called “Chinese Taipei.” We don’t know what name Taiwan attempted to apply under, and after its rejection, Taiwan said that it would reapply as an “ordinary member” instead of a founding one. It may be the case that Taiwan attempted a more controversial name the first time around. [FULL STORY]