Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, January 08, 2010

I've been browsing ISO 3166, the international standard of country codes.  It ought to have been dull reading, but Scotland, despite being a separate Kingdom, doesn't merit it's own country code. 

There is no separate ISO 3166-1 code for Scotland. It is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its codes GB, GBR and 826 apply to Scotland, too.
Of even greater sensitivity is the status of Taiwan which is classified as the Taiwan Province of China:
Since Taiwan is not a UN member it does not figure in the UN bulletin on country names. The printed edition of the publication Country and region codes for statistical use gives the name we use in ISO 3166-1. By adhering to UN sources the ISO 3166/MA stays politically neutral.
There's a sort of logic to those two.  I'm not sure I agree with them, but one can see that there is some justification.  For me, though, it all breaks down when we consider Ceuta and Melilla, the two tiny Spanish  outposts on the Moroccan coast, respectively 19 and 12.3 square kilometers which are recognised with a country code:
Ceuta and Melilla are jointly identified by the reserved code element EA