china taiwan

China is the Republic of China, says Ma Ying-jeou At Press Conference in Allied Guatemala



On March 13 Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou began an official trip to the central American country of Guatemala, one of the few states that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan


On the website of the Central American Parliament (Parlamento Centroamericano) Ma Ying-jeou is called “President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)”. According to Taiwanese reports, other sections of the website called him simply “President of China (Taiwan)“. At a press conference, Ma Ying-jeou clarified which country he represents.

“As far as the relations between our two countries are concerned”, he said, “China means Republic of China“.

Democratic Progressive Party legislator Luo Zhizheng (羅致政) criticised Ma’s response, wondering if the Foreign Ministry could accept “Republic of China” as the country’s official name.


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Wang Peiling (王珮玲), spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, reiterated that “Republic of China” was the official name of the country as far as diplomatic relations with Central American countries are concerned. “‘China’ means ‘Republic of China'”, he said, “and ‘Republic of China’ means ‘Taiwan‘” (『中國』就是中華民國,就是台灣).

Ma Ying-jeou’s response at the press conference was quoted in mainland Chinese media. Both the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Ma’s party, the Guomindang, adhere to the so-called 1992 consensus. According to this unofficial agreement, Beijing and Taipei uphold the “one-China principle”, while each side considers itself the legitimate government of all China.

Chinese nationalism and Chinese identity were part of the Guomindang’s state ideology, which was enforced dictatorially. Since Taiwan’s democratisation in the 1990s, however, identity has become a matter of heated debate. The Democratic Progressive Party, which currently governs Taiwan, opposes the Guomindang’s Chinese nationalism and promotes a “Taiwan-centric identity“.  

The Republic of China was founded in mainland China in 1912 following the Xinhai Revolution. In 1927, the Guomindang seized power and established a de facto one-party state. In 1949, however, the Communist Party led by Mao Zedong overthrew the Republic of China, whose government fled to Taiwan. On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. Ever since then the two sides have officially claimed to represent China. 
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