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NASA listing Taiwan as 'country' unforgivable

China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-31 07:22
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Workers pressure wash the logo of NASA on the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, US, on May 19, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

NASA is inviting people, on its official website, to register and get their names carved inside chips to be sent to Mars in July 2026. It is indeed a good idea, as it will make people more interested in Mars and astronomy.

However, there is a grave error in the application form. Under "country", the form lists "Taiwan", which is an integral part of China, as an option.

This is an unforgivable act. There is only one China, from which Taiwan is inseparable. The People's Republic of China is the only legitimate China and there is international consensus on the "one-China principle". By listing Taiwan as a "country", NASA has broken international rules and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.

As a technological institution, NASA must respect China's national interests and not indulge in politics. Unless they make amends at the earliest, their action will not go down well with the Chinese people and be opposed by knowledgeable people around the world.

Many Chinese people who wanted to send their names to Mars said on social networking sites that they had changed their minds after seeing Taiwan being listed as a country. No Chinese person will want to boycott a scientific body unless China's national interests are at stake.

NASA has not yet rectified the error. China cannot compromise on its core interests and the Chinese people have a right to say "no" to those harming China's interests.

Taiwan will be reunited with the Chinese mainland and it should be. It is a part of China, and no one can alter the fact that both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to China. It is wrong for any entity to list Taiwan as a "country", and China is determined to safeguard its territory.

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