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Beijing 'dissatisfied' with name change of Japan's Taiwan embassy

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The Japan Interchange Association announced it was changing its name to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, effective Jan. 1, in a move hailed by the Taiwan government as a positive sign for bilateral relations, reported China Post.

"The association will continue to serve as a bridge between Taiwan and Japan to bring bilateral relations into the next stage," it said.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) described the change as a "passive measure" by Japan on the Taiwan issue and called on Japan to uphold the "one China" policy.
Hua said Beijing has asked to negotiate with the Japan government over the change.
Welcoming the association's decision, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the change exemplified closer two-way ties.
"The name change is meant to reflect the substance of the association's function in Taiwan and is seen as a positive sign in bilateral relations," it said.

MOFA said Japan was Taiwan's third-largest trading partner and Taiwan was Japan's fourth-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade totaled nearly US$57 billion in 2015, MOFA said.
Two-way travel is expected to reach the 6 million mark this year, the ministry said, adding that these numbers exemplified the two countries' close bilateral ties.

The Japan Interchange Association was formed in 1972 and functioned as a de facto embassy in Taiwan after Tokyo broke official diplomatic relations with Taipei in favor of Beijing. It is headquartered in Tokyo and maintains branch offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
A source close to the matter told local media that the name "Japan Interchange Association" was confusing because it did not specify the entity with which Japan was interchanging.
The proposal to change the association's name was raised over a year ago and took several months to implement, the source said.

Japan's "Interchange Association," responsible for maintaining unofficial relations with Taiwan, is to be named "Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association" as of Jan. 1, drawing criticism from China, reported Global Times.

"We firmly oppose any attempt to create 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan', and express strong dissatisfaction with the Japanese side's negative move," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing Wednesday.
Hua urged Japan to adhere to the principles set in the 1972Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and its commitments to China, sticking to the one-China principle and handling the Taiwan-related issues prudently.
According to the joint statement, the Japanese government fully understands and respects the Chinese government's position on Taiwan as an inalienable part of the territory of China.

"Japan should refrain from sending the wrong messages to the Taiwan authorities and the international community or cause new disturbances to China-Japan relations," Hua added.
China has repeatedly said the one-China principle is the foundation of its relations with foreign countries and that no country should maintain official ties with Taiwan.

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