The most suitable occasion for a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) would be the APEC leaders’ summit, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday.
“As participants in the APEC summit are referred to as member [economies] instead of nations and address each other as ‘leader,’ the event may allow them [Ma and Xi] to meet based on the principles of equality and reciprocity and without having to worry about the longstanding problem of how to refer to each other,” Wang said in response to journalists’ quesions on the sidelines of a Lunar New Year gathering held for China-based Taiwanese businesspeople at the Grand Hotel in Taipei.
Wang leaves on Tuesday for China to meet with Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).
“I will not bring up any issues regarding the proposed Ma-Xi meeting during my visit. However, if officials on the other side mention the matter, I will tell them the council’s belief that the APEC meeting is the most fitting occasion for such a meeting,” Wang said.
Wang added that the government would be glad to see leaders from both sides meeting at an appropriate occasion, at an opportune time and under proper titles.
China will host this year’s APEC meeting in Beijing.
Wang said his visit is aimed at deepening mutual understanding and establishing a regular communication mechanism with the TAO.
“Since it is likely that Chinese officials may also bring up matters concerning follow-up negotiations for the ECFA [Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement] … and China’s oft-made proposal for the establishment of cross-strait media offices on either side of the [Taiwan] Strait, the council has drawn up its own proposals for these matters,” he said.
Wang said that Ma has not assigned him any “special tasks.”
He also denied that the council’s proposal that the government establish a national security screening mechanism for cross-strait agreements would not exempt such pacts from legislative scrutiny.