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Minister makes pitch to retain operations of obscure agency

2016/06/20 13:37:00

Minister without Portfolio and of Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Lin Mei-chu.

Taipei, June 20 (CNA) Minister without Portfolio Lin Mei-chu said Monday that the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC), which she heads, should be retained but can be merged with other government departments.

In a legislative hearing on the fate of the ministry-level MTAC, Lin noted that the ruling and opposition parties have agreed it should either be dissolved or integrated into some other government agencies.

Her position on the contentious issue, she said, is that the MTAC should be absorbed by other departments. One agency that has been suggested in the past is the Mainland Affairs Council, which handles Taiwan's relationship with China.

Originally a bureau under the interior ministry, the MTAC was elevated to its current level in 1928 -- when the Republic of China (ROC) government still ruled mainland China -- to deal with Mongolian and Tibetan affairs. Unlike provinces dominated by a mostly Han population, Mongolia and Tibet are both designated a "region" under the ROC Constitution.

The ROC Constitution, which was promulgated in 1947, recognized Mongolia as a separate country after it gained independence through a plebiscite in 1945.

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has argued that it is "no longer necessary" to have a commission to deal with matters relating to Mongolians and Tibetans since Mongolia is now an independent country and Tibet is seeking to gain similar status.

The MTAC was discussed Monday in a hearing of the Legislature's Internal Affairs Committee, which was held on the one-month anniversary of the new DPP government.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Evelyn Kao)
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