Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - Page 1 News List

China says keen on meeting with Ma, but in no rush

Reuters, BEIJING

Beijing yesterday said it was keen on a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), but signaled it was in no rush to set a venue or timeframe for what would be a historic get-together.

Since taking office in 2008, Ma has signed a series of landmark trade and economic agreements with Beijing, further cementing China’s position as Taiwan’s largest trading partner.

However, the Ma administration said last week that China had rebuffed as “inappropriate” a request for the two leaders to meet at an APEC summit in Beijing in November.

Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswomen Fan Liqing (范麗青) told reporters the subject of a Xi-Ma summit was “not a topic for discussion” during last week’s landmark meeting between top Taiwanese and Chinese government officials.

That meeting was an important step in pushing overall cross-strait relations, she said.

She added that further steps would follow, promising to benefit people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

“As for a meeting between the leaders on both sides of the Strait, we have said many times that this is something we have upheld for many years, and we have always had an open, positive attitude toward it,” Fan said.

“Compatriots on both sides of the Strait all hope that the leaders can meet,” she added.

She declined to elaborate on the topic of an appropriate venue for a meeting between the leaders, adding that “APEC has its own rules, which should be handled in accordance with the memorandums of understandings.”

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