updated 2/8/2007 1:35:02 PM ET 2007-02-08T18:35:02

President Chen Shui-bian said Thursday the name ’Taiwan’ would soon replace ’China’ on the island’s stamps, a move likely to anger Beijing.

Labels and titles are sensitive issues in both Taiwan and China, which split amid civil war in 1949.

Beijing still claims sovereignty over the democratic, self-governing island, threatening war if Taiwan takes steps toward formalizing its de facto independence.

At present, Taiwanese stamps bear the island’s official name, Republic of China, in English and Chinese.

“I believe we will soon see a satisfactory outcome, including the long-awaited terms ’Taiwan Post’ and ’Taiwan stamp,”’ Chen said in a response to a reader posted on the Presidential Office Web site.

Chen suggested state-owned “Chunghwa Post” — “Chunghwa” means “Chinese” — would change its name to “Taiwan Post.”

Beijing is often enraged when Taiwan uses names that play down the island’s cultural and historical ties with China.

Chen’s comments on the stamps comes amid a campaign by his ruling Democratic Progressive Party to remove references to China and to late President Chiang Kai-shek.

Other name changes planned
Last week, the government said it was planning to change the names of two other state-run companies, Chinese Petroleum Corp. and China Shipbuilding Corp., to avoid confusion with their counterparts in communist China.

The new names will be Taiwan Chinese Petroleum Corp. and Taiwan International Shipbuilding Corp., a government official said.

In September, the government cut Chiang’s name from the island’s main international airport. The DPP, which sees Chiang as a ruthless dictator, is also lobbying to drop his name from a Taipei park commemorating him.

On Wednesday, the party approved a motion demanding to withdraw a military police honor guard from his grave. Chiang led his administration from China to Taiwan after his defeat by the communists on the mainland and was the island’s president until his death in 1975.

The military recently also removed dozens of Chiang statues from its bases. Critics claim government pressure was behind the change, but the military says the statues were moved inside to protect them from erosion.

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