President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday apologized for misspelling Thailand when she paid homage to the country’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away on Oct. 13.
At a makeshift memorial at the Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei, Tsai expressed her condolences on the king’s death in writing in English in a book of condolences, but left out the letter “h” from the country’s name.
“On behalf of the people of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I hereby extend my most profound condolences to the Royal family and the people of Tailand for their loss of a great leader, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej,” she wrote.
Tsai apologized to Thailand’s office for the misspelling, and the Thai side expressed its understanding and again thanked President Tsai and Taiwan for their concern for the Thai people, the Presidential Office said.
It also denied media reports that Tsai will lead a delegation to Thailand to attend the memorial service for the king.
“Such a report does not conform to the truth. We have made no such plans,” the Presidential office said in a statement.
Foreign Minister David Lee said, meanwhile, that Tsai’s misspelling was by no means intentional.
When Lee was first asked about Tsai’s misstep while attending a forum, he seemed surprised and said “that can’t be right.” Once he realized what happened, he tried to defend Tsai by saying, “I think people are asking too much (of her).”
He said he has made similar mistakes, and they were not intentional.
He also dismissed reports that Tsai had originally wanted to travel to Thailand to pay her respects to the late king but scrapped the plan because Taiwan and Thailand do not have diplomatic ties.
“In fact, we didn’t have such a plan,” Lee said.