Mon, Nov 21, 2016 - Page 1 News List

APEC Summit: Soong engages China’s Xi at APEC summit in Lima

DIPLOMATIC TIES:Due to their good relationship, Xi noticed that Soong was wearing the same orange tie that he wore at their meeting in Beijing in 2014, an official said

By Lin Liang-sheng and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter in LIMA, with Staff writer

Taiwan’s envoy James Soong, second left, talks to another delegate at the APEC summit in Lima, Peru, on Saturday as Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Photo courtesy of the Chinese Taipei APEC delegation

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), Taiwan’s envoy to the APEC summit, talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for 10 minutes about cross-strait trade and economic issues in Lima, Peru, on Saturday, a member of Taiwan’s delegation said.

PFP Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said that Soong took advantage of a delay of the APEC Business Advisory Council meeting to engage in talks with several leaders, including Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Lee said Soong’s conversation with Xi occurred naturally following their encounter at the venue, adding that they shook hands and sat to discuss policy issues, with Soong expressing the hope that China will resume cross-strait economic exchanges, especially those that benefit Taiwan’s small and medium-sized enterprises.

Soong and Xi agreed on the topics and they are to separately issue news releases detailing the contents of their conversation, Lee said.

Because of the two men’s “good personal relationship,” Xi noticed that Soong was wearing the same orange tie he wore at their meeting in Beijing in 2014, Lee said.

Soong and Xi did not mention the so-called “1992 consensus” or the “one China” principle, because President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) did not authorize Soong to broach those subjects, Lee said.

The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted to making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

In response to questions from the media about the absence of any photographs proving the exchange between Soong and Xi, Lee said photographs are “insignificant” in light of the facts that a conversation between the two did take place.

As Soong is acting as Tsai’s envoy at the summit, any statement he made during the meeting would be reported to the Presidential Office, Lee said, adding that the PFP leader would give the president a full briefing upon his return to Taipei and that a news conference would be held to inform the public of what transpired during the summit.

Soong’s talks with Putin took up a “substantial” amount of time, while he also conferred with the representatives of South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, Chile, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Lee said.

Lee said Soong invited Putin — who had expressed an interest in Taiwan — to visit the nation, and he had a “cordial” conversation with Duterte.

Lee added that the nature of Soong’s conversation with Abe was a “simple exchange of greetings.”

When asked whether a more formal meeting with Abe has been arranged, Lee said: “We still have tomorrow for that, at any rate,” without clarifying what that meant.

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski welcomed the leaders to the council meeting, where Soong was seated between Putin and US Trade Representative Michael Froman, and separated from Xi by five seats.

Soong was seen engaging in brief talks with Putin and Froman, but did not interact with Xi during the meeting.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said in Taipei that the government welcomed the exchanges between Soong and Xi, adding that it was “natural” for interactions to occur between the president’s envoy and China’s head of state.

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