Tsai blasted for R.O.C. legitimacy remark

Thursday, May 27, 2010
The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Officials yesterday leapt to the defense of the country against opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen's claim that the “Republic of China” is a “government in exile.”

Presidential spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said it was a serious slip-up for Tsai, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, to “dwarf” the country and deny its legitimacy.

“Such an attitude of self-denial has at the same time debased the DPP itself, which was once the ruling party,” Lo said.

The spokesman also questioned whether the DPP considered its eight-year governance of the country “unlawful and invalid.”

Lo asked if Tsai was denying the DPP's “Resolution on Taiwan's Future,” which states that “Taiwan is an independent sovereign state that is named the Republic of China under its current Constitution.”

Tsai on Tuesday said the R.O.C. government in exile has been an embodiment of authoritarian rule and “Chinaness” for decades.

But change has occurred, with “Chinaness” giving way to “Taiwanness” in the formation of a “Taiwan subjectivity,” said Tsai, who served as vice premier at one point during the DPP's eight years in power between 2000 and 2008.

She was making the remarks during an event debuting a book on the R.O.C.'s “60 years of exile” in Taiwan and the post World War II international situation faced by island.

The Kuomintang troops fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Chinese communists, who overthrew China's first-ever republic built on 1911.

Cabinet spokesman Johnny Chiang responded to tsai's claims by stressing that the ROC is a sovereign state with a 99-year history and its democratization has allowed peaceful transfers of power from one political party to another.

“The existence of the Republic of China is undisputable,” Chiang said.

Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah said some academics have referred to the R.O.C. as a “government in exile,” but officially the “R.O.C. government is the R.O.C. government.”

“The R.O.C. government has always been a legitimate ruling government since it was founded in 1911,” Jiang said.

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KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin also trashed Tsai's remarks as “inconceivable,” reminding her that

Su reminded Tsai that she was once a vice premier and has just declared her candidacy in the year-end mayoral elections.

He said Tsai's claims show that the DPP has not abandoned its ideologies or shown any “improvement.”

But Hsiao Bi-khim, who handles the DPP's international affairs, said the party chief was simply pointing out historical facts.

The ROC was a “government in exile” but it has now evolved into a democratic government though legitimate procedures.

Trong Chai, a leader of the DPP legislative caucus, urged the KMT to face up to its history honestly.

He said the Treaty of San Francisco signed in 1951 at the end of World War II had Japan abandon control over Taiwan but did not specify to whom Taiwan was to be handed over.

“The KMT rule in Taiwan was illegitimate. There is nothing wrong with calling it a government in exile,” he said.

Lee Chun-yee, another DPP legislative leader, said the KMT should not become angry whenever issues of national identity arise.

“The KMT should not indulge in self-hypnosis, but should face up to history,” Lee said.

DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu said Tsai's statement highlighted the KMT's failure to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state independent of China.

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