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Taiwan's future up to its 23 million people: President Ma
Central News Agency
2014-06-11 11:43 PM
Taipei, June 11 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou reasserted Wednesday that Taiwan's future is in the hands of its 23 million people, an apparent response to Beijing's statement earlier in the day that the fate of the island is up to "all Chinese people." Presidential Office spokesman Ma Wei-kuo (no relation) said in a statement that President Ma has always insisted that the fate of Taiwan rests with its people and the Republic of China Constitution. The president made statements to that effect on Nov. 16, 2008 at an annual meeting of the ROC Constitutional Law Society as well as on May 1, 2011 in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel, the spokesman said, adding that the president's remarks clearly showed his stance that the ROC is a sovereign, independent country. The Mainland Affairs Council also issued a statement supporting the Taiwanese people's right to determine their future. The Ma administration's China policy has been no unification, no independence, and no use of force in a way that conforms to the ROC Constitution, the council said, adding that polls have shown that as many as 80 percent of the public support this policy. The independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) issued a statement supporting the Taiwanese people's right to decide their own future. The comments come as a response to China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Fan Liqing, who told reporters that Beijing's stance on Taiwan has not changed. "Any issue related to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be decided by all Chinese people, including Taiwanese compatriots," Fan told reporters at a regular news briefing, referring to Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te, a DPP member, who visited China last week and said Taiwan's future is in its own hands. Scholars have said that while Beijing has softened its tone, its stance on preventing Taiwanese independence has not shifted. Associate Professor Chang Wu-yuch of Tamkang University in New Taipei said that Beijing has always maintained that Taiwan's future is the business of "the Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," and that "China's own matters should not be interfered with by others." He said that Fan's statement reaffirmed China's long-standing position of "opposing referendums," especially any on Taiwan's future. This reflects Beijing's belief that Taiwan and China are not separate countries, but are two parts of the same nation that have not yet reunited, he said. Lin Chong-pin, a former vice minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, said that Beijing has never approved a referendum on Taiwan's future and believes that it is a product of Western influence. Fan has only repeated Beijing's stance, Lin said, though he noted she has softened the tone by adding the words "including Taiwanese compatriots" to the message. Lin said that starting with Hu Jintao, China's president from 2003 to 2013, Beijing has had an ostensibly softer approach toward Taiwan. (By Kelven Huang, Scarlet Chai, Justine Su, Wu Su-jung and Lilian Wu)
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