Taipei, Oct. 9 (CNA) The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Sunday accused opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen of changing her tune on the country's identity after she said Saturday that "Taiwan is the Republic of China (ROC)."
It was the first time Tsai, who also serves as DPP chairwoman, had equated the Republic of China with Taiwan. In May 2010, she described the ROC on Taiwan as a government-in-exile, immediately drawing criticism from the KMT, though the DPP said at the time that the remark had been taken out of context.
Ma Wei-kuo, a spokeswoman for President Ma Ying-jeou's reelection campaign office, urged the opposition leader on Sunday to formally take back her description of the ROC made in May 2010.
She also criticized Tsai for "flip-flopping on her nation's identity" and speculated that Tsai had recognized the ROC simply as a tactic to get more votes in next January's presidential election.
Tsai made her latest statement while addressing supporters during a campaign stop in Kaohsiung on Oct. 8.
"The ROC is Taiwan, Taiwan is the ROC, and the current ROC government is no longer ruled by a non-native political power," Tsai said.
She added that after the progress of democratization and four presidential elections, "the ROC government today is a government of Taiwan."
Premier Wu Den-yih responded that with the presidential election three months away, "we recognize her willingness to place the ROC in her heart."
"No matter what position she holds in the future, we hope she will defend the ROC and defend Taiwan like President Ma Ying-jeou and everybody else does," Wu said.
Tsai's controversial statement in May 2010 came at the launch of a new book on the "60-year exile" of the ROC in Taiwan and the international situation faced by Taiwan after World War II.
Tsai said at the time that the ROC was a government in exile controlled on Taiwan, where a union of authoritarianism and "Chinese consciousness " had formed that has dominated Taiwan's thinking , culture and language for the past six decades.
She also argued, however, that with the development of democracy and the rise of Taiwanese awareness, Taiwanese characteristics seemed now to be trading places with Chinese characteristics.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi asked Tsai to attend National Day celebrations at the Presidential Office plaza Oct. 10 to show her recognition of the ROC.
Tsai announced earlier that she will skip the celebration in Taipei because of a campaign event in southern Taiwan the same day, but said she would attend a flag-raising ceremony in Tainan.
(By Lin Heng-li, Lin Shen-hsu, Kelven Huang and Jamie Wang) ENDITEM/ls