Legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were taken by surprise when lawmakers from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) unexpectedly switched from their long-held opposition to a referendum on “re-designating national territory” during a legislative committee on Thursday.
The Interior Committee had convened a screening meeting to discuss amendments to the Referendum Act, when KMT Legislator Huang Chao-hsun (黃昭順) voiced her support for a referendum on the highly sensitive issue.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) asked “has the KMT changed its original position?”
Huang noted that the KMT has always maintained any change in the designation of national territory can only be undertaken by means a constitutional amendment.
However, having lost the elections and with the DPP the ruling party, she said the KMT “will follow the will of the majority.”
The move is being seen as an attempt to embarrass the independence- leaning DPP.
“We are certainly against Taiwan independence, but as the DPP has previously supported a referendum on revising the official designation of national territory, and we lost the elections, we are willing to follow the will of the majority,” Huang said.
She was referring to the KMT’s drubbing in the presidential and legislative elections early this year, in which the DPP won both the presidential election and control of the Legislature for the first time.
Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), another KMT legislator, said that “because we’ve always opposed such a referendum, we lost power and paid the political price.”
“Why shouldn’t we change our stance and support a referendum?” Lai asked.
Under the ROC constitution, the nation still lays claim to the whole of China, although the actual area under its jurisdiction is limited to Taiwan and the outlying islands of Kinmen, Penghu, Matsu and islands in the South China Sea.
In the past, the KMT administration has been unwilling to address the sensitive issue of national territory and opposed the holding of a national referendum.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel