Taipei, May 22 (CNA) Lai Shin-yuan, head of the Mainland Affairs Council, said Tuesday that President Ma Ying-jeou's mention of "one Republic of China, two areas" in his inauguration address should not be misinterpreted.
"The president's reference should not be over-simplified as 'one country, two areas,'" Lai said in a statement, adding that the complete term has defined Taiwan-China relations throughout the administrations of the past three presidents.
The term "one Republic of China, two areas" is in line with both the nation's Constitution and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, Lai said.
Lai's comments came in the wake of criticisms by opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers, who said the term was a play on words that downgrades Taiwan's sovereignty.
Furthermore, the term will cause confusion in the international community and lead to the assumption that Taiwan has accepted that it is part of China, the opposition lawmakers said.
For most countries, the term "one China" refers to the People's Republic of China, the lawmakers said.
Defending Ma's stance, Lai said the formula Ma upholds is the only possible basis on which Taiwan and China can set aside their differences and seek common ground.
"Only by doing so can both sides reach practical solutions to the problems," she said.
Ma said during his inauguration speech on May 20 that over the past two decades, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been defined as "one Republic of China, two areas," and that it is "an eminently rational and pragmatic definition."
"When we speak of 'one China,' naturally it is the Republic of China," Ma said.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)