President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said during a recent interview with a Chinese-language magazine that he still sees the APEC meeting this year as the best opportunity for a potential meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
The APEC leader’s meeting in November is perhaps the best opportunity for a meeting with Xi, Ma said when asked about the condition for such a meeting during the interview with Global Views Monthly, published yesterday.
Ma said the venue would be acceptable to Taiwanese, but added that there seem to be some difficulties for Beijing — the APEC’s host this year — to agree on such a proposal.
“So we’re still waiting to see if there is a chance,” he said.
This year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting is planned for Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 in Beijing and will be attended by leaders of the 21 APEC members.
During the interview, Ma also defended the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement, which has been stalled in the legislature pending ratification since it was signed in June last year.
In response to questions about many Taiwanese being worried that the agreement will hurt the nation’s interests, Ma said there has been a lack of rationality in the debate over the trade pact.
A lot of unverified rumors have also made people more worried about the impact of the agreement, he added.
For example, it is not true that the agreement is to open Taiwan up to Chinese workers and that China’s waste will be exported to Taiwan after the agreement takes effect, he said.
The service trade pact would instead open the door for Chinese companies to deal with waste produced in Taiwan, Ma said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Foreign Trade should set up a unit to be tasked with clarifying on a daily basis rumors related to the agreement, he said.
Commenting on the student-led protesters’ occupation of the legislature from March 18 until April 10, Ma said he recognizes the students’ desire to express their voices.
However, he criticized those who broke into the Executive Yuan compound and occupied the legislature’s main chamber.
Street protests cannot replace the legislature to decide on public affairs, the president said.