US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar wearing a face mask attends a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office, in Taipei, Taiwan August 10, 2020. Photograph:( AFP )
A few sentences later, Azar corrected himself and pronounced President Tsai's as it is generally is spoken
The opposition party in Taiwan demanded clarification on Monday on US envoy's pronunciation, which appeared to wrongly spell the name of the president, which sounded closer to her arch-rival Chinese counterpart.
US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar met President Tsai Ing-wen earlier on Monday and in his opening statement pronounced the name as "shee", which is how Chinese President Xi Jinping's name is spelt, instead of "ts-eye".
However, a few sentences later, Azar corrected himself and pronounced President Tsai's as it is generally is spoken.
For opposition Kuomintang party (KMT), the glitch came as a "shock and disapproval" as they demanded clarification from the US.
"The KMT expresses shock and disapproval while urging the presidential office to sternly protest to the US side and clarify that the president of the Republic of China is surnamed Tsai, not Xi," said KMT in a statement.
However, Taiwan president brushed aside the opposition party's demand.
"There is no doubt Secretary Azar was addressing (her) as President Tsai," said Xavier Chang, Tsai's spokesman, in a statement.
"We suggest all sides to focus on (Taiwan's) diplomatic accomplishments and anti-pandemic cooperation. Closer Taiwan-US relations is the joint fruit of the efforts made by all people."
Tsai's party is at loggerheads with the Chinese administration, which is based on the autonomy of Taiwan, which Beijing considers as its own territory.
Also, US health secretary's visit to Taiwan has already raised eyebrows in China as for long several countries refused to consider Taiwan as an independent country separate from mainland China.
(With inputs from AFP)