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'1 country, 2 areas' in line with ROC Constitution: MAC deputy

Chang Hsien-yao, vice chairman of Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), yesterday came to the defense of Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, saying his “one country, two areas” remark was in line with the content of the Republic of China Constitution.

Chang made the statement during the morning session of a panel discussion organized by the Taipei Forum Foundation.

Last Thursday, Wu told Chinese President and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao that President Ma Ying-jeou backs the notion of “one country, two areas.” The remark immediately caused an uproar in Taiwan, with the opposition parties castigating Ma for selling out the nation.

Yesterday, Chang said the “one country, two areas” idea is in keeping with the spirit of the R.O.C. Constitution and is a valid interpretation of the “1992 Consensus,” which says that there is but one China in the world, yet both Taiwan and China can differ on its definition.

“Wu's remark did not signify a change in Taiwan's status quo,” Chang said, adding the handling of cross-strait affairs based on the R.O.C. Constitution is a tradition that went from Lee Teng-shui all the way to Ma Ying-jeou.

Chang went on to say a mature democracy thrives on different opinions, which should be cherished and respected. Yet when it comes to the constitution, all people should stand on one common ground — that is, to preserve and protect it, he said.

“Even Frank Hsieh, the former premier, has talked about the concept of 'constitutional consensus,'” Chang said. “Let's all work together to uphold our constitution, regardless of your party affiliation or political ideology.”

The forum also featured various scholars who gave a diverse range of views concerning how cross-strait ties should be handled now and in the future.

Lin Wen-cheng, professor with National Sun Yat-sen University, said the status quo in cross-strait relations “won't last forever” and urged the government to be prepared for political dialogues with China, which he said would eventually happen.

“China will exert more pressure in its economic talks with Taiwan,” he said. “It won't keep giving things to Taiwan and will eventually ask Taiwan to give something back. What's Taiwan going to do then?”

Tung Chen-yuan, professor with National Chengchi University, equates Taiwan with the Republic of China. “The R.O.C. is a sovereign nation. Taiwan is a sovereign nation. The R.O.C. equals Taiwan,” he said.

His view was immediately rebutted by Yang Kai-huang, a professor with Ming Chuan University, who said Taiwan is merely a “geographic term,” not a sovereign country — at least not according to the R.O.C. Constitution.

Separately, Su Huan-chih, former magistrate of Tainan County, yesterday said he'll convene over 100,000 people to protest the “one country, two areas” remark on May 20, the day President Ma is inaugurated for a second term.

“We'll make our voice heard throughout the international community that we're against President Ma's act to downgrade himself to the head of a region, not state,” Su said. “This act is an insult to the integrity of Taiwan's 23 million people.”

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