Houston Community News >> President Ma Says to Postpone Inaugural Stamp

4/2/2008 (Taipei Times)-- President-elect Ma Ying-jeou's office yesterday urged the state-run Taiwan Post Co to postpone plans to issue a set of memorial stamps celebrating Ma's inauguration on May 20.

"The legitimacy of certain terms in the Chunghwa Post Co's design remains controversial," a press release issued by Ma's office yesterday morning said.

The postal company was known as Chunghwa Post Co until the government changed its title to Taiwan Post Co last year.

The name change drew criticism from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the pan-blue-dominated legislature is still blocking a Cabinet proposal that would legitimize the name change.

The company's plan showed four memorial stamps portraying Ma and vice president-elect Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), with the national title on the stamps reading "Taiwan" instead of the nation's official title "Republic of China."

"Basically, we believe the national title and sovereignty symbol on the stamps should follow specific rules and international conventions," Ma's spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said.

"In order to prevent controversy, we have decided to deal with [the design] after May 20," he said.

The news release also said the office would like to put off the postal service's plan in part because there is no urgent need to issue the memorial stamps in light of other administrative issues Ma and Siew have to deal with before they are sworn in.

When asked about the name change issue, Lo said the official title of the postal service was legally "Chunghwa Post Co."

"Before the title stipulated in the law is amended, everything should follow the law," he said.

In related developments, Lo yesterday dismissed speculation that Ma had dropped his plan to visit the US before May 20.

"We are still planning the visit. The plan has not been finalized. We will tell everyone when it is finalized," Lo said.

Lo was commenting on a Central News Agency story on Monday that quoted former American Institute in Taiwan director Douglas Paal in Washington as saying that he heard Ma had given up on his plan to visit the US by May 20, but he was not sure if this was true.

Paal was quoted as saying that it would be "very difficult" for Ma to make it to the US because the US government has its own concerns as to whether to approve Ma's plan.

"Mr Ma Ying-jeou was showing goodwill by expressing his intention to visit [the US]. The point of the visit is to repair and improve Taiwan-US relations," Lo said.

(Contributed by Taipei Times)