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Lien Chan could meet with China’s Xi

PERSONAL VISIT?The KMT said the former vice president would not represent the party during his trip, which a source said was originally to be announced with Beijing

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former vice president Lien Chan, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sep. 1, 2015.

Photo: CNA

Former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) could meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) during an upcoming trip to China, Lien’s office said, adding that details of the trip would be announced after they are finalized.

Rumors of a Lien-Xi meeting have made waves for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who has been unable to secure an audience with the Chinese president since taking over the party in August last year.

The meeting could happen during Lien’s trip, purportedly to visit his family’s ancestral graves.

Asked about the possible meeting, Lien’s office spokeswoman Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) on Wednesday said that Lien was in contact with Chinese officials regarding his trip.

A formal statement would be issued after Lien’s itinerary and entourage have been finalized, Kuo said.

The meeting, should it take place, would be the fourth time the two men have met since 2013.

Lien’s office originally planned to make an announcement about the trip with Beijing on Monday next week, a person with knowledge of the matter said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Lien was not happy about the matter coming to light earlier than planned, the source said.

Separately yesterday, KMT headquarters said that Lien would not represent the party on such a trip and that it has not asked him to relay any messages to Beijing.

The party is in communication with Lien’s office, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said, but declined to comment on the rumored meeting with Xi until the trip has been announced.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Liu Jieyi (劉結一) also declined to comment on the rumors.

Liu was asked by reporters about the possible meeting after delivering a speech at a Taiwanese products expo in Tianjin, China, during which he reiterated Beijing’s “one China” principle, the so-called “1992 consensus” and opposition to Taiwanese independence.

The Democratic Progressive Party administration is “going down a dangerous path” by refusing to follow Beijing’s line, Liu said.

The “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides acknowledge that there is “one China,” which each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

However, Beijing has never acknowledged the “different interpretations” part and has only mentioned the “one China” element in its references to the “1992 consensus.”

In related news, former KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu’s (洪秀柱) office on Wednesday said in a statement that Hung would leave today for the Cross-Strait Youth Development Forum in Zhejiang, China, with a delegation of 200 young Taiwanese.

Hung is to attend the event in her capacity as chairwoman of the China Cyan Geese Peace and Education Foundation, her office said.

The forum — the first in a series of events — was organized by the foundation and relevant offices in the Chinese government, Hung’s office spokesman Lee Chang-chi (李昶志) said.

After the forum, Hung and her group are to tour the Chinese cities of Jiaxing, Huzhou and Shaoxing, Lee said.

Additional reporting by Stacy Hsu and CNA

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