Taiwan's future to be decided by its people, gov't unit says

Taiwan's future to be decided by its people, gov't unit says

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday declared that the future of the island would be ultimately determined by its inhabitants.

The declaration was made after MAC's Chinese counterpart released a statement to the contrary.

In a recent visit to China, Tainan Mayor and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member William Lai had called for a common ground between his own party and China and sparked controversy over his remark that "Taiwan's future ought to be decided by its 23 million people."

China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) said early yesterday - supposedly as a response to Lai's remark - that its attitude toward the DPP and the Taiwan independence idea remained the same. The TAO and China are against the ideology as it tends to cause a rift between Taiwan and China, said TAO spokeswoman Fan Liqing.

"We welcome all Taiwanese people who support and wish to join the peaceful development of cross-strait relations to visit China and share their views ... I have to emphasise that, despite how China and Taiwan are not united yet, China's sovereignty and land is not divided at all. The truth of both sides belonging to one China remains the same ... All issues related to the wholeness of China's sovereignty and land should be decided by all Chinese people, those in Taiwan included," said Fan.

Many Taiwanese lashed out at Fan's statement, saying that Taiwan's future was "none of China's business."

"We will insist that the developments concerning Taiwan's future and cross-strait relations should be determined by Taiwan's 23 million people, as ordained by the structure of the Constitution of the Republic of China. This is the consensus reached in Taiwan," said the MAC.

Taiwan's China policies are to stick to the Constitution, which calls for "no unification, no independence and no force" between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the MAC continued.

"The Constitution was designed to uphold the area's sophistication, stability and Taiwan's benefits ... the design is also supported by over 80 per cent of Tainan's people."

The current situation is mirrored in President Ma Ying-jeou's stance: the R.O.C. is a country with independent sovereign rights, and the future of the island and the ultimate decision about its sovereignty lies in the hands of its people, the MAC concluded.

The DPP has expressed its support for Lai's remarks in Shanghai, saying that it shared the same viewpoint as the Tainan mayor.

After the TAO's statement, the DPP reiterated its stance that only the Taiwanese can decide the island's future. DPP Secretary General Joseph Wu also called for the Ma administration to respond to the string of cross-strait comments and replies.

"President Ma should explain this clearly ... especially as he had a large advertisement stating his insistence for 'the Taiwanese people to decide Taiwan's future' when he was running for president in 2008. (We need to know) if his previous stance is any different from his current one," said Wu.

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