Fri, Jun 12, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Pressure builds for Ma-Hu meet

WEARING DIFFERENT HATS The Taipei mayor said that the president should arrange to meet with the Chinese president as soon as he becomes the chairman of the KMT

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to prioritize cross-strait affairs after taking over as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman and use the KMT-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cross-strait forums to arrange a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

Ma announced at a press conference on Wednesday that he would run in the KMT chairman election on July 26 to push for closer ­cooperation between the government and the party. Ma is a shoo-in for the position after KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) said at the same setting that he would not run for re-election.

Hau said cooperation between the government and the party was crucial, but the most important mission for Ma as the next KMT chairman would be to push cross-strait relations.

“The KMT-CCP forum has been the platform for leaders of the two sides to meet and reach consensus on cross-strait affairs,” Hau said yesterday when meeting reporters at Taipei City Hall.

“I believe cross-strait development will make more progress if President Ma attends the KMT-CCP forum in his capacity as KMT chairman,” he said.

When asked whether or not he would attend the KMT-CCP forum and meet Hu after taking over as KMT chairman, Ma said on Wednesday that he would not address the issue until formally taking over the position in September.

Wu will attend this year’s KMT-CCP forum next month.

Ma will formally take over the chairmanship on Sept. 12 and serve until September 2013.

Local media outlets speculated that a Ma-Hu meeting could be held in 2012 as Hu’s term as CCP chairman will end in the same year and a KMT vice president would attend the next forum.

KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) yesterday urged the president to plan a meeting with Hu as soon as possible after becoming KMT chairman, adding that a meeting could promote “healthy cross-strait interaction.”

DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said on Wednesday that Ma wanted to use the chairman position to promote quick unification with China.

China’s China Daily reported yesterday that “the prospects of the highest-level talks between the mainland and Taiwan” had soared with Ma set to become the KMT chairman.

“Although Ma has to visit Beijing in his capacity as KMT chairman and talk to Hu in his role as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, the unprecedented meeting will signal ‘great reconciliation’ between the mainland and Taiwan,” it said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG, RICH CHANG AND STAFF WRITER

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