Sun, Mar 29, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Siew delivers message to Xi as Boao Forum opens

BANKING ON TIES:Beijing responded positively to news that Taiwan intends to join its nascent Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Chinese officials said

Staff writer, with agencies, BOAO, China, and MOSCOW

Former vice president Vincent Siew, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at the Boao Forum for Asia on China’s southern Hainan Island yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) yesterday expressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) Taiwan’s intent to take part in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) during a brief exchange of greetings, and Beijing is willing to improve contacts with Taiwan to discuss issues related to Taiwan’s possible participation, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) said.

Wang made his remarks in response to a question from reporters after attending the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern Chinese province of Hainan.

Siew talked to Xi for less than a minute prior to the opening of the forum, in a stark departure from a previous instance that saw Xi sit down with Taiwan’s delegation for a closed-door meeting.

Xi walked into a room at 9:24am, shaking hands with each member of Taiwan’s delegation and posing for a group photograph.

Siew then walked over to Xi for a talk lasting about 45 seconds before Xi left the room at 9:27am.

Sources said that Xi nodded to Siew when Siew expressed Taiwan’s interests in the AIIB.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), who was present, later told reporters that Taiwan certainly has a chance to join the AIIB, but China has not yet received a formal request from the nation.

Zhang said he would listen to Taiwan’s views when he has a chance to talk to Siew.

Beijing is willing to improve contacts with Taiwan to discuss issues related to its possible inclusion in the AIIB, Wang said later.

Participants in the multilateral finance organization are required to meet certain standards and engage in certain negotiations, he added.

Separately, Russia announced its intention to join the regional development bank as well.

Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency reported the nation’s participation.

“I’d like to inform you that Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken the decision that Russia will participate in the capital of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ,” Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said, the agency reported.

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