More Taiwan Tensions

What's in a name?  For Taiwan, the answer may be its survival. The latest political gambit by outgoing President Chen Shui-bian has both elicited veiled threats from China and pitted his country against its main ally, the U.S. At issue is the name under which Taiwan intends to apply to regain membership in the United Nations. Chen has called for a referendum next March on whether the island should forgo its official name (the Republic of China) in favor of Taiwan. It's a provocative gesture, as it would seemingly codify Chen's contention that the island is effectively independent of the mainland.

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