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Taiwan President Lai accused of misrepresenting ex-President Ma’s stance regarding one China or two countries China and Taiwan! This is an original article from CNA FOCUS TAIWAN!

Former President Ma Ying-jeou (right) attends the opening of a new provincial highway with then-Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te in 2013. CNA file photo

Taipei, June 14 (CNA) President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) has come under fire after asserting that predecessor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) once said the Republic of China (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are not subordinate to each other.

In an interview with Time Magazine, a transcript of which was published by the Presidential Office on Thursday, Lai stated he was “not the first person to express this truth” when asked about comments made during his inaugural address that “the ROC and the PRC are not subservient to each other.”

“During her 2021 National Day Address, former President Tsai said that the ROC and PRC should not be subordinate to each other. Former President Ma Ying-jeou had also once said the ROC is a sovereign and independent state and that neither side of the strait is subordinate to the other,” Lai said.

However, representatives for Ma criticized Lai for misrepresenting the former Kuomintang (KMT) president in interview, with the waters further muddied by inconsistent definitions and translations in a companion piece published by Time.

Although the ROC has come to be colloquially referred to as “Taiwan’s official name,” the KMT maintains that the ROC’s constitution precludes recognition of the PRC as a separate country.

According to Hsiao Hsu-tsen (蕭旭岑), director of the Ma Ying-jeou Culture and Education Foundation, Ma had pointedly refrained from referring to the ROC and PRC when describing the cross-strait relationship during his time in office, opting instead for the more ambiguous “two sides.”

In a press release, Hsiao accused Lai of “twisting Ma’s words” by deliberating conflating “two sides” with two countries.

“If President Lai has the courage, he should directly declare Taiwan independence instead of deceiving foreigners who don’t understand Chinese,” Hsiao said.

Hsiao added that Ma’s notion of cross-strait relations refers to the two separate regions across the Taiwan Strait, rather than two separate countries.

Later on Friday, Ma said he was “surprised” to see Lai use his words to “endorse” his stance.

“My argument is clear: According to the Constitution of the Republic of China and the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, the Republic of China includes Taiwan and the mainland,” Ma said.

“Moreover, both ‘sides’ [the ROC and the PRC] do not recognize each other’s sovereignty nor deny each other’s governance but do adhere to the principle of ‘One China,’” Ma said.

“I would like to ask, does President Lai endorse the principle of ‘One China’ and agree with the Constitution of the Republic of China?” Ma added.

In an attempt to clarify matters, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which handles cross-strait relations, issued a statement asserting that “the ROC does not belong to any country or region in the world.”

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