Beijing praises Ma’s use of ‘mainland’ designation

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - Page 1

Beijing yesterday praised President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) call for Taiwanese to refer to China as “mainland China” or “the other side,” a move that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said constituted political manipulation.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi (楊毅) said that Chinese officials had seen reports of Ma’s comment on the matter and they welcomed the move wholeheartedly.

“There is only one China in the world and the mainland and Taiwan belong to China,” Yang said. “Before the two sides are unified, the fact that the mainland and Taiwan are part of China remains unchanged.”

Yang made the remarks during a question-and-answer session at a weekly press conference in Beijing.

Ma suggested that government officials refer to China as “mainland China” or “the other side” verbally or in written documents at a tea party with leading government and legislative officials on Feb. 7.

DPP legislators have accused Ma of denigrating Taiwan’s sovereignty by using such designations.

Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) defended Ma’s call, citing Article 11 of the amendments to the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution, which he said stipulates that the rights, obligations and relationship of the people of the “free area and mainland area” must be regulated by special laws.

Article 2 of the Act Governing Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) also defines the “mainland area” as ROC territory outside the “Taiwan area,” he said.

Ma has said that China is part of ROC territory, as stated in the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Yang yesterday offered a boilerplate answer to the question by a Taiwanese reporter as to why China was pressuring Taiwan to change the name it used at the Conference of Governors of South East Asian Central Banks.

“Regarding the issue of Taiwan’s participation in international organizations or activities, our attitude and position remain clear,” Yang said. “The two sides can make perfectly logical and reasonable arrangements through pragmatic negotiations under the precondition that there are no ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China and one Taiwan.’”

As for Ma’s intention to seek re-election next year, Yang said Chinese officials had seen related reports and he emphasized that peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait was important.

“The peaceful development of cross-strait relations meets the expectations of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and brings genuine interest to them,” he said. “We are willing to work together with Taiwan to continue to push forward the peaceful development of cross-strait ties.”

Reacting to Beijing’s warm reception of Ma’s comments, the DPP yesterday accused Beijing of choosing sides, adding that this constituted political manipulation.

It also showed how Ma’s remarks have played “straight into Beijing’s hopes, interests and ways of thinking,” DPP spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) told the Taipei Times last night.

“Inadvertently, perhaps, Ma has fulfilled China’s ‘one China’ policies through those remarks, shown by the comments from the Taiwan Affairs Office,” he said.