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Referring to China as 'the mainland' is constitutional: president

ROC Central News Agency

2011/02/18 11:51:15

By Y.F. Low

Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday elaborated on his recent requirement for government officials to refer to the other side of the Taiwan Strait as "the mainland" instead of "China, " saying this is consistent with the current Republic of China Constitution.

However, Ma stressed, the private sector is not required to follow suit.

"The ROC Constitution defines mainland China as the 'mainland area of the Republic of China.' Therefore, as public officials, we must draft our official documents in accordance with the law, " Ma said in an interview with the Washington Post conducted in Mandarin through a government translator.

The president noted that the distinction between the "Taiwan area" and the "mainland area" was established 20 years ago when the Constitution was amended.

The ROC Constitution was enacted in 1946, three years before the Kuomintang-led ROC government was forced to move to Taiwan after it lost a civil war against the communists in China.

To address various practical problems that had arisen from the implementation of the Constitution in Taiwan, a series of reforms, which included "additional articles, " were enacted between 1991 and 2000, during the administration of then-President Lee Teng-hui.

The "additional articles" in the Constitution basically restrict the jurisdiction of the ROC government to the Taiwan area, although no changes were made to the "existing national boundaries" that also include the mainland area.

Ma said said his administration has adopted a policy that allows both sides of the strait to maintain the current state of "no unification, no independence, and no use of force" while pursuing the goals of peace and prosperity.

With the significant improvement in relations between the two sides over the past three years following the resumption of dialogue, Ma said, "the current situation is the most stable than at any time in the last 60 years."

However, he emphasized, the pursuit of cross-strait peace does not mean that Taiwan cannot maintain the military capability necessary for its security.

"We hope that our negotiations with the mainland will be conducted against a backdrop of adequate self-defense capabilities, and not out of fear," he said.

On whether cross-strait negotiations will enter the political realm, Ma said political issues are "not a priority" because the two sides have agreed to "put economics before politics."

Also in the interview, Ma indicated indirectly, in response to a question, that he plans to run in 2012 for a second term.

"When I ran for president four years ago, my political plans were designed to be accomplished over an eight-year period," he said.

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