The Presidential Office yesterday defended President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) call to refer to China as “mainland China” or “the other side” verbally or in written documents.
“It is mainly for the purpose of avoiding confusion,” Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said. “The declaration was made in accordance with the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution. Only by doing so can we uphold national sovereignty and protect Taiwan’s dignity.”
Ma made the suggestion at a tea party with leading government and legislative officials on Monday. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators, however, accused Ma of denigrating Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Lo said Article 11 of the amendments to the ROC Constitution stipulates that the rights, obligations and relationship of the people of the “free area and mainland area” must be regulated by special laws.
“In other words, referring to the other side as the ‘mainland area’ or the ‘mainland’ is a term specified in the Constitution,” Lo said. “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.”
Ma has said that China is part of ROC territory as stated in the Constitution.
Lo said the DPP did not make any effort to amend related provisions during the eight years it was in power.
Neither did it propose changing the name of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to “Chinese Affairs Council,” even when DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) served as council chief for four years, he said.
“The DPP’s wavering position and illogical thinking are what constitutes denigration of national sovereignty,” Lo said.
Tsai rebutted Lo’s remarks at a separate setting late yesterday.
Saying that the establishment of the council and the legislation of the Act Governing Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area are only part of the overall governmental mechanism and its systems of laws and regulations, “we find it absurd that our president is taking them [the council and the Act] as the sovereign basis for the entire ROC,” Tsai said.
“We urge President Ma to keep in mind that he is not a minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, but the president of the ROC,” Tsai said. “The most important task for the president of the ROC is to assert its sovereignty instead of pulling back and confining its international space to cross-strait affairs.”
Additional reporting by staff writer