Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) urged mainland China not to misjudge the controversy surrounding a Taiwanese teenage star holding a Republic of China (Taiwan) flag on a South Korean TV show, a Presidential Office spokesman said Saturday.
According to Charles Chen (陳以信), Ma said he sympathized with Tzuyu (or Chou Tzuyu, 周子瑜), the only Taiwanese member of the South Korean girl group Twice, who later apologized for waving the flag after drawing an angry response from fans in China.
Ma has asked related authorities to look into any involvement the South Korean and mainland Chinese governments may have had in the controversy, and urged the mainland not to misjudge the incident, Chen said.
The harm Tzuyu received was unwarranted for any national who is simply identifying with his or her country, according to Ma, who added that he does not want to see people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to be incited in this way.
"Anyone who embraces the Republic of China (Taiwan) with all of their heart definitely does not support the Taiwan independence movement," Ma was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) also expressed his support for Tzuyu when interviewed after casting his vote on election day on Saturday.
"The mainland China has gone way too far," Wu said. "We support (Tzuyu)."
A video clip was released just hours before voters in Taiwan are to elect their next president and legislature, during which Tzuyu said that "there is only one China... I have always felt proud of being Chinese."
Reading from a prepared text with her voice shaking, she said that she has "hurt the feelings of the company and netizens due to my inappropriate words and actions during overseas promotions. I feel very, very sorry and guilty."
Her apology has raised anger and sympathy from Taiwan and other parts of the world as evidenced by her support on worldwide social media with hashtags such as #StandByYu trending on Twitter and other sites.
(By Tang Pei-chun, Jay Chen and Lee Hsin-Yin)ENDITEM/ke