The APEC leaders’ summit in Beijing this year would be the most suitable occasion for a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) because it would allow China to interpret the gathering as a “domestic affair,” Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉) said.
Lin made the comment at a meeting of foreign envoys at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to a question EU Representative to Taiwan Frederic Laplanche raised about a possible Ma-Xi get-together. The meeting was to brief the envoys on the agreements on meteorological cooperation and earthquake monitoring signed during the 10th high-level cross-strait talks on Feb. 27 in Taipei.
Several envoys inquired about the possibility of a Ma-Xi meeting, a topic discussed when MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) met with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) on Feb. 11 in Nanjing, China.
“As the next APEC summit is to be held in Beijing, it would help create a context where both sides of the Taiwan Strait could have their own interpretation of the nature of the meeting,” Lin said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was quick to criticize his comments.
DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) questioned Ma’s eagerness to meet with Xi, saying that Ma should prioritize the nation’s economy above everything else, including his place in history.
DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) called on Lin to step down.
“Which country does Lin work for? Is the Ma administration really so desperate to meet with Xi … that it is willing to hand over Taiwan’s sovereignty?” Chen said.
The council later said that a Ma-Xi meeting would not be an international or domestic affair, but a “cross-strait one.”
“The government remains adamant that such a meeting must not undermine the nation’s dignity and stances on sovereignty issues, and could only be held in a way that is conducive to the advancement of social well-being and cross-strait rapprochement,” the council said.
Zhang dismissed Lin’s suggestion when questioned by reporters on the sidelines of the 12th National People’s Congress in Beijing.
“We should find another place [for a meeting], since it only concerns the two sides of the Strait, and during which only cross-strait matters will be discussed. It is not necessary to meet at an international occasion,” he said.