The Republic of China (ROC) Constitution is no longer functioning and the real “Taiwan Constitution” is the 12 additional articles of the ROC Constitution, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday as he wrapped up a three-day visit to Taitung County.
He made the remark during a stop in Luye Township (鹿野) in response to a reporter’s question about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) recent comment that, according to the ROC Constitution, cross-strait relations are not state-to-state relations.
“What are the relations? Ma has to make that clear,” Lee said.
Lee, 90, played an instrumental role in most of the seven revisions or amendments to the Constitution between 1991 and 2005.
While the additional articles, which stipulate Taiwan is the “free area” of the ROC and China is the “mainland area,” state that they were enacted to “meet the requisite of the eventual national unification,” they reflected the de facto governance and state of the country after the ROC government fled to Taiwan after it lost the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Lee said he described the model of relations between Taiwan and China as a “special state-to-state” relationship” in 1999 to clarify Taiwan’s sovereignty and status because the nation’s legal status is unique.
“[The case of Taiwan] is so unique and unprecedented that legal experts have yet to find an explanation and solution,” Lee said.
“Sandwiched between the superpowers of the US and China, Taiwan should know exactly what it is, stand its ground and try to maintain its right to act on its own before it becomes an ‘absolute country’ and a member of the United Nations,” Lee said.
Lee, who said while campaigning for Ma when he ran for Taipei mayor in 1998 that Ma was a “New Taiwanese” and there was no doubt about Ma’s Taiwanese identity, yesterday lamented Ma’s subsequent shift on identity and national status.
Asked if he still viewed Ma as a new Taiwanese, Lee did not give a direct answer, but said: “You know why the ‘old Taiwanese’ are angry at him.”
Lee criticized Ma for not handling cross-strait affairs with Taiwan’s interests as his priority.
He said that was why Ma was not insisting, during the negotiations on establishing cross-strait representative offices, on the rights of Taiwanese officials to visit ROC citizens detained in China and the authority of its planned representative offices in China to issue travel documents.