Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Country Confusion

tags:  country list, destination countries, international addresses, international destinations

Some country names can create confusion and lead to misdirected mail.  When there is doubt, consult the postal authorities in the country where mail originates for their accepted designation.  These countries require particular attention.

China is ambiguous and used by both the mainland People's Republic of China and the government on Taiwan, which considers itself the Republic of China.  Taiwan is claimed by the People's Republic of China as a province.  The United Nations does not recognize the government on Taiwan.  Some lists use “Taiwan, Province of China” as the country.  This may reach Taiwan but is not likely to be well-received by either the postal authorities there or the residents.  “China, People’s Republic” or “P.R. China” will be clear as will “Taiwan” or “Taiwan, ROC”.  

Hong Kong became Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 1 July 1997.  However, the postal systems remain separate and “Hong Kong” is the country designation.

Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999.  The postal system remains separate, using the destination “Macau”.  Both the spellings Macau and Macao are used by Correos de Macau and government web sites, although the preference seems to be for Macau.

Congo is the common name of two countries since Zaire changed its name to Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998.  The former Zaire is now commonly referred to as Congo (Kinshasa) or DR Congo to distinguish it from Republic of Congo, now commonly called Congo (Brazzaville) or Congo Republic.

 Dominica and the Dominican Republic are separate nations in the Caribbean.

Georgia is the name of both a country bordering the Black Sea and a state in the United States.  To avoid confusion, the USPS prefers “Republic of Georgia” on mail from the U.S. to that country.

North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and South Korea, the Republic of Korea, share the Korean Peninsula in East Asia.  Relations between the countries are unfriendly.

Macedonia requested recognition by the United Nations under that name but, because of opposition from Greece, was recognized by the United Nations but as “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.  The name Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia is preferred by its citizens.  Some countries accept the name Macedonia on mail but “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” or “Macedonia, FYR” is more commonly used and accepted.  The acronym FYROM alone is not widely accepted.

Myanmar was called Burma and some members of the opposition to the current regime still use that designation, as do some countries.

Niger and Nigeria are neighboring countries in Africa.

South Sudan, independent since July, 2011, and the Sudan are separate countries, splitting the territory that was formerly the country of the Sudan.

Western Sahara:  Spain withdrew from Western Sahara in 1976.  Morocco and Mauritania invaded and claimed the territory.  Mauritania has withdrawn.  Morocco still claims the area and controls the populated areas.  Mail to “Morocco” reaches its destination.