Swiss court rules against Taiwan's name change bid

10th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland's highest court has refused to back Taiwan's bid to get the UN standards agency ISO to change its name from "Taiwan, Province of China" to "Republic of China, Taiwan."

Taiwan expressed its "profound regret" in a statement issued Friday in Geneva, adding that it would "continue to protect its constitutional name against any erroneous designation..., through dialogue or any other necessary means."

In a ruling issued Thursday, the Swiss Federal Tribunal dismissed the appeal against the International Organization for Standization, explaining that the case did not fall under its remit as it was politically motivated.

Pointing out that the action undertaken by Taiwan was a "political claim for the existence of its independent democratic state to be recognised internationally," the tribunal ruled that the case was irrelevant in civil courts.

Taiwan lost its UN seat to China in 1971 and Beijing has thwarted all the island's previous bids to return to the world body as a full member.

The two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war but China still claims Taiwan as part of its territory and sees any move to seek UN membership as a step towards formal independence.

The usage of the name "Taiwan" is often also a key point of contention in the tussle between the two parties.

At the World Trade Organisation, where Taiwan is a member, the island is known as Chinese Taipei.

© 2010 AFP

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