It is an indisputable fact that Taiwan is a nation and its name is the Republic of China (ROC), Premier William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday, in response to Beijing’s insistence that Taiwan and China belongs to “one China.”
“Cross-strait relations are not state-to-state relations. There is no one China and one Taiwan. Taiwan is an indivisible part of Chinese territories. It has never been and will never be a country. China steadfastly opposes any form of Taiwanese independence,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said earlier yesterday.
“A nation is composed of its people, territory and sovereignty,” Lai told a news conference after presiding over an Executive Yuan meeting on attracting investments to Taiwan. “We elect our own president and officials; the people pay taxes to the government. By any metric, Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation.”
Photo: Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times
It was a reiteration of his comment during a legislative question-and-answer session on Tuesday, when he said: “We are a sovereign and independent country and its name is the Republic of China.”
Lai’s beliefs are in line with those of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.
“We are an independent and sovereign state whose name is the ROC. This is the president’s position, whom, I should add, was elected president of the ROC,” Hsu said.
Asked whether Lai’s position is new, Hsu responded in the negative, saying that former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) had said the same thing in the past.
“Was it not the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) official position that the ROC is a sovereign and independent nation? If any KMT member thinks we are not a sovereign and independent nation, now is the time to speak up,” Hsu said.
“The spirit of the premier’s comments are consistent with the government’s position on cross-strait policy,” Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Katharine Chang (張小月) said.
The government has consistently followed the ROC Constitution, the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) and relevant laws, she said.
“The administration seeks peace, stability and good communications in cross-strait relations, but we insist that exchanges should be conducted under the premise of equality and dignity,” Chang said.
The international community recognizes Taiwan for its freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law, she added.
“The future of Taiwan and cross-strait developments must be determined by Taiwan’s 23 million people. This is the national consensus and a fact that China would do well to understand,” the MAC said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also issued a statement repeating Lai’s comments that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation whose name is the ROC.
A majority of Taiwanese believe that any changes to the “status quo” must be democratically approved by the public, the DPP said.
“Because the TAO’s cross-strait policy position runs counter to what the majority of Taiwanese believe about their own national identity, no support for it will be forthcoming from Taiwanese society,” the DPP said.
The Chinese government should recognize the ROC’s existence as a fact and commit itself to resolving differences with dialogue, rather than obstructing the normal development of ties across the Strait for political reasons, the DPP said.
Additional reporting by Hung Mei-hsiu
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
There is no need to lock down Taipei, but the International Workers’ Day long weekend from May 1 to 3 should be postponed, a public health researcher said yesterday. Although the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan has not reached an extent that would necessitate the closure of any area, large crowds that gathered over the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday, which ends today, showed reduced vigilance among some people, National Taiwan University College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said. This reduced vigilance increases the risk of the virus spreading, Chan said, adding that the government should push back national holidays to
As more schools shift to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers in Taipei yesterday urged the Ministry of Education to pay attention to the security risks associated with using the remote conferencing service Zoom. Following reports about privacy and security issues with Zoom, including that it sends data to China, groups such as NASA, the New York City government and the UK’s Ministry of Defence have reportedly banned its use. Zoom founder and chief executive officer Eric Yuan (袁征), a Chinese-American, has apologized, saying that the company would freeze the development of new features and shift its resources to
Seven new cases of COVID-19, including one domestic case, were reported yesterday by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), which added “diarrhea of unknown cause” to the criteria for reporting suspected cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the domestic case — the nation’s 352nd — is a man in his 40s who lives alone, did not travel abroad recently and began showing symptoms on Monday. “The man sought treatment for a fever at a clinic on March 30, went to the same clinic again on April 1 for loss of taste and smell, and