Sat, Feb 19, 2011 - Page 1 News List

DPP criticizes Ma over interview in ‘Washington Post’

UPSET:DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei accused the president of echoing Beijing’s ‘one China’ principle in an interview published on Thursday

By Mo Yan-chih and Tseng Wei-chen  /  Staff reporters

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) latest comments to a foreign media outlet about his requirement that government officials refer to the other side of the Taiwan Strait as the “mainland” instead of “China” were condemned by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday, which criticized the president’s words as tantamount to proclaiming to the world that “Taiwan belongs to China.”

In an interview with the Washington Post on Thursday conducted in Mandarin through a government translator, Ma said his requirement that government officials refer to the other side of the Strait as the “mainland” was consistent with the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution.

“The ROC Constitution defines mainland China as the ‘mainland area of the Republic of China.’ Therefore, as public officials, we must draft our official documents in accordance with the law,” Ma said, adding that the private sector was not required to follow suit.

Ma said the distinction between the “Taiwan area” and the “mainland area” was established 20 years ago when the Constitution was amended.

The ROC Constitution was enacted in 1946, three years before the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-led ROC government was forced to move to Taiwan after it lost the civil war against the Chinese Communist Party.

To address practical problems that had arisen from the implementation of the Constitution in Taiwan, a series of reforms, which included “additional articles,” were enacted between 1991 and 2000, during the administration of then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

The “additional articles” in the Constitution basically restrict the jurisdiction of the ROC government to the Taiwan area, although no changes were made to the “existing national boundaries” that also include the “mainland area.”

Unconvinced, DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) yesterday said Ma’s remarks to a prominent international media outlet were tantamount to proclaiming to the world that Taiwan belongs to China.

“Does this mean that Taiwan’s future needs to be decided by all of the people in China as well [as Taiwanese] since they are considered ROC citizens residing in the ‘mainland area?’” Huang asked.

Saying that China’s oppression was the cause of the diplomatic predicament facing Taiwan today, DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) accused Ma of echoing Beijing’s “one China” principle.

“Has Ma forgotten that he has previously said that Taiwan’s future should be decided by the 23 million people in Taiwan?” Chen asked.

In the same interview, Ma described cross-strait relations under his administration as being “the most stable of any time in [the past] 60 years.”

He defended the government’s efforts to pursue peaceful relations between Taiwan and China as “the ultimate goal,” but he also emphasized the need for the nation to maintain its self-defense capabilities, saying that Taiwan needs to purchase new F-16C/D fighters from the US and to upgrade its existing F-16A/B aircraft.

“The Republic of China is a sovereign state. We must have our own national defense. While we negotiate with the mainland, we hope to carry out such talks with sufficient self-defense capabilities so as not to have to negotiate out of fear,” Ma said.

As to possible political negotiations with China, Ma said the two sides had agreed to focus current efforts on economic, cultural and educational cooperation and exchanges.

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