Most Taiwanese academics believe that there is only a slight chance that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping (習近平), this year, although there are opportunities for such a meeting to occur.
The idea was expressed at a conference held by the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum at the Legislative Yuan on Friday. At the forum, academics joined in a review of cross-Taiwan Strait relations last year.
National Taiwan University political science professor Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) said that as long as the two sides insist on their separate stance on sovereignty issues, no breakthrough would be achieved on beginning cross-strait political dialogues this year and establishing a military confidence-building mechanism.
Chang added that under Ma’s three conditions for meeting with Xi, national need, support from Taiwanese and maintenance of national dignity, it is difficult to promote a meeting between Ma and Xi.
Other academics at the forum echoed his views.
However, Chang said an expected meeting between Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) next month would play a significant role in the development of cross-strait relations.
National Chengchi University Institute of International Relations research fellow Wu Tung-yeh (吳東野) agreed, saying it is not possible for Beijing to accept a Ma-Xi meeting because Ma has been avoiding the “one China” principle and Ma’s three conditions for holding such a meeting have yet been met.
There have been suggestions in Taiwan that the APEC forum to be held in Beijing in October could provide an opportunity for the two leaders to meet for the first time as ties between Taiwan and China have improved dramatically since Ma took office in 2008.
So far, Ma has been barred from the APEC leaders’ annual summit at the insistence of the Chinese government. Meanwhile, on the expected meeting between Wang and Zhang, the MAC said in a statement issued late on Friday evening that Wang will not touch “sensitive political issues” or echo China’s talk about a “one China framework” during his upcoming visit to China.
In the statement, the MAC added that it is the government’s policy to insist on the so-called “1992 consensus” and to promote positive cross-strait interactions in a stable manner.
The “1992 consensus” refers to an alleged consensus reached between Chinese and Taiwanese negotiators during talks in Hong Kong in 1992 that there is “one China, with each side having its own interpretation.”
The MAC’s statement was issued in response to a cross-party consensus reached in the Legislative Yuan earlier in the day that sought to keep Wang on a tight leash during his visit, which is expected to take place next month.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus proposed that Wang should not embark on any negotiations, sign any papers or issue any news releases or statements on such political issues as “one China,” the “one China framework,” “one country, two regions,” “military confidence-building mechanism,” “peace agreement” or “arrangement of political relations in stages.”
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus echoed the DPP’s proposal and added that Wang should also not accept or echo claims that would put the nation’s sovereignty at risk, such as the “one China framework,” or “opposition to Taiwan independence.”
The TSU said Wang should shoulder political responsibility if he violates these provisos. The opposition party added that Wang should give a report to the legislature after he returns to Taiwan.
Some of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators endorsed the proposals by the DPP and the TSU, which the lawmakers said are to be included in the budget legislation due to come up for approval.