Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has voiced support for democratic movements in Hong Kong on a number of occasions since taking office. Photo: Reuters

So long, CCNAA, we hardly knew ye. Established in 1979, after US president Jimmy Carter’s decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, the inaptly named Coordination Council for North American Affairs was created by the Taiwanese government to handle ties with the US and was named as such to not offend Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the long-self-ruled island.

In its stead, and to mark the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which replaced the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty of 1955, Taipei announced last week the renaming of the CCNAA to the Taiwan Council for US Affairs (TCUSA).

While seemingly an innocuous change and insignificant to some, including the term “Taiwan” will be viewed as provocative by an easily bruised Beijing and its touchy nationalists. In recent months, Beijing has pressured newspapers, airlines and international companies to change their “Taiwan” references to “Taipei, China.”

Yet pressure from Beijing only drives relations between the US and Taiwan closer. President Tsai Ing-wen is capitalizing on this support in the lead-up to Taiwan’s 2020 elections to “salami-slice” her way toward de jure independence. Beijing has used this same incremental yet highly effective method to attempt to control the South China Sea through the construction of islands.

In so doing, Tsai is placing a fairly safe bet that the name change is innocuous enough not to trigger an extreme response by Beijing. Among her own citizenry, the name change will hardly be noticed or will prove uncontroversial, as most consider themselves distinctly Taiwanese and view China and Taiwan as distinct nations.

A more controversial portion, however, was sliced off earlier this month when the secretary general of Taiwan’s National Security Council, David Lee, met with US national security adviser John Bolton in Washington. The meeting represented the first publicly acknowledged summit between the national security advisers of both countries since 1979. As the meeting reaffirmed Taiwan’s de facto governance over foreign affairs, Beijing predictably expressed its displeasure, urging Washington to “stop having official exchanges or upgrading substantive relations with Taiwan.”

Perhaps the next slice of the salami will be to change the anachronistic moniker of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), the de facto Taiwanese embassy in the US. The various Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (TECOs) in major US cities could also be renamed, as could Taiwan’s hodgepodge of TECOs and their variants in other countries worldwide, many of which were recently pressured to drop any references to Taiwan.

Ahead of the January 2020 elections in Taiwan, Beijing would be wise not to overreact to such a small name change and lend further support to Tsai, whose favorability ratings have improved in the face of aggression from China. A single spark may start a prairie fire, according to Chairman Mao, but these latest salami slices should not be the spark.

Join the Conversation


  1. Thanks for every other magnificent article. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such an ideal approach of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such info.

  2. Hiya, I am really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossip and internet stuff and this is actually frustrating. A good website with exciting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this site, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  3. I am not sure the place you are getting your info, however great topic. I must spend some time studying much more or working out more. Thank you for excellent information I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  4. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  5. You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  6. hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this site, since I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for a lot more of your respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this again soon..

  7. It’s really a nice and useful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  8. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its aided me. Good job.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.