Credentials of new ambassadors to the ROC
Receiving the credentials from a new ambassador is an important official ceremony for a nation’s head of state, both in terms of formality and substance. Only after the completion of this ceremony is a new ambassador recognized as the representative of his or her nation. The ceremony fully confirms the authority of the new ambassador, and also affirms recognition of the nation and government that he or she represents. Consequently, the presentation of credentials by an ambassador is equivalent to the establishment, continuation, and strengthening of a diplomatic alliance between two countries. The protocol associated with the ceremony carries immense significance both symbolically and substantively.
Upon arrival in the ROC, a new ambassador will first present a copy of his or her letter of credentials to the ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs. A time will then be arranged to present the original letter to the President.
The Office of the President will dispatch a limousine to pick up the ambassador on the designated day for the presentation of credentials. The ambassador will step out of the vehicle at the Main Entrance to the Presidential Building and then review the honor guard and band. A tri-service honor guard comprising a company of troops and the military band will be conducted by the major of the honor guard. The troops and the band stand in front of the Main Entrance, expressing welcome and respect to the ambassador dispatched to the ROC. The ambassador walks over to where the honor guard and band are stationed. The troops salute and the band plays the anthem of the ambassador’s nation. After the conclusion of the national anthem, the director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of Protocol and the Deputy Director-General of the Third Bureau of the Presidential Office escort the ambassador in reviewing the honor guard. The chief of the ceremonial section under the Office of the President then leads the ambassador into the Presidential Building through the Main Entrance and up the stairs to the Taiwan Heritage Room. The Director-General of the Third Bureau waits at the door to welcome the ambassador and escort the ambassador into the room for a brief rest.
The presenting of credentials is carried out in the President’s Hall, which is across from the main entrance to the Taiwan Heritage Room. After the President, the Secretary-General to the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Director-General of the Third Bureau have all taken their positions in the President’s Hall, the director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Protocol escorts the ambassador into the hall and to a place about six steps in front of the President. The protocol director and the ambassador then bow to the President, after which the protocol director states: “The new ambassador to the Republic of China from such and such nation is to present his/her credentials.” The ambassador then takes three steps forward. Holding the letter of credentials with both hands, he or she offers the letter and laudatory greetings to the President. The President then offers a letter of appreciation to the ambassador and shakes his or her hand. He then invites the ambassador to take a seat for discussions. After the President welcomes the ambassador, the ambassador will express desire to do his or her utmost to further solidify the friendship between the two countries. Upon the conclusion of the talks, the ambassador will make his or her farewells, and the President and the ambassador will shake hands. The protocol director will lead the ambassador from the President’s Hall back along the same route to the reception room. The President will be led back to his office by a military attaché.
The Secretary-General to the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Director-General of the Third Bureau will make their way to the reception room, where champagne will be uncorked and toasts made. They will offer their congratulations to the ambassador and take photos together. After exchanging pleasantries, the chief of the ceremonial section will escort the ambassador downstairs and back out the Main Entrance of the Presidential Building. As the ambassador walks in front of the honor guard and the band, the troops will salute. The band will play the national anthem of the ROC and everyone will stand at attention. After the music is over, the protocol director and the Deputy Director-General of the Third Bureau will accompany the ambassador to review the honor guard and band. Once this is completed, the protocol director will escort the ambassador back to his or her residence.