Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday welcomed his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) counterpart's statement that "Taiwan is the Republic of China [ROC]."
Hsieh was speaking about a statement released by Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) campaign office late on Saturday night.
"We hope the DPP will not collude with China in attacking the Republic of China," Ma's statement read. "The Republic of China and Taiwan have now become inseparable. Taiwan is the Republic of China, harming the Republic of China means harming Taiwan."
Hsieh called on Ma to follow in the DPP's footsteps regarding its discourse on the issue of the nation's sovereignty.
DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, on the other hand, panned Ma for being a plagiarist.
Yu said the DPP had already proposed such a discourse eight years ago in its "Taiwan Future Resolution."
Criticizing Ma for continually changing his stance on the issue, Yu said voters should not take this latest statement too seriously.
In response, Ma said yesterday he was not following in the DPP's footsteps because he and Hsieh had different views.
"He [Hsieh] is running for president of the Republic of Taiwan and I am running for president of the Republic of China," Ma said.
Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Ching-chun (陳景峻) yesterday demanded that Ma clarify whether his version of the ROC's territory included China.
"Is he saying that Taiwan is the ROC and China is part of the ROC? That would suggest Taiwan is part of China," Chen said.
Ma's statement suggests he does not identify with Taiwan, Chen said.
Ma's latest statement appeared to contradict remarks made by the KMT's representative to the Cabinet's Referendum Review Committee.
Minutes of a committee meeting showed KMT representative to the committee, Liao Feng-de (廖風德), saying the country could only return to the UN as the ROC.
Liao made the statement in the committee's sixth meeting, saying that since the country once participated in the UN under the ROC name, it must return to the UN as the ROC. If it were to apply for membership using any other name, the move would not be a return to the UN but a new application by a new member, Liao was quoted as saying in the minutes.
The KMT's version of a referendum asks: "Do you agree this country should apply to return to the UN and other international organizations with a practical and flexible strategy, that is, do you approve using the name ROC, or Taiwan, or other names conducive both to the success of the mission and to maintaining dignity?"
The committee, which in June turned down the DPP's proposal for a referendum on the nation's application to join the UN using the name "Taiwan," gave the go-ahead to the KMT's proposal late last month.
The committee's approval means that there will now possibly be two referendums on securing a UN seat, should both parties complete the second stage of their signature collection drives, in which they need to collect more than 825,359 signatures supporting their version of the referendum.
The review committee, composed of members recommended by political parties in proportion to the number of legislative seats, originally had 21 members, but the eight DPP representatives resigned en masse following the rejection of the DPP's proposed referendum.
The DPP started its second-stage signature drive earlier this month after the Cabinet's Appeal Committee overruled the Referendum Review Committee's rejection.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan
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