Meeting with Xi to lay foundation: Ma

STILL PUSHING::President Ma Ying-jeou said he and the Chinese president should meet ‘as a natural development’ to establish a framework for cross-strait dialogue

By Tzou Jiing-wen and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - Page 1

For the first time, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has openly said that Taiwan and China should reach agreement on building a stable framework for future cross-strait dialogue and negotiations based on the so-called “1992 consensus” in a summit meeting between the leaders of the two sides.

Ma said the concepts of the “1992 consensus” and the “one China” principle should be agreed upon and solidified so that both sides of the Taiwan Strait can establish a “highly stable framework (超穩定架構)” for dialogue, and that such a development would be good for both Taiwan and China.

He spoke in an interview published recently in Wealth (財訊), a Taiwan-based Chinese-language magazine which focuses on financial affairs, in which Ma talked about a proposed summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and its significance for the cross-strait relationship.

“A Ma-Xi meeting should be seen as a natural development, when viewed from the perspective that the cross-strait relationship is important and has a natural progression. Like Taiwan’s relationship with Japan and the US, if [Taiwan and China are] seen as regular members of the international community, their leaders should have met already. Why have we not done so? It is because this involves mainland China,” Ma said.

“Mainland China is our No. 1 trade partner, our No. 1 region of business investment and the source of our highest trade deficit. We have more than 8 million people visiting back and forth between Taiwan and China. Under such conditions, it should be natural for the leaders of the two regions to meet, and such a meeting is not something that should not happen,” Ma said in the interview.

“It is especially important for some key concepts and principles, such as the ‘1992 consensus’ and ‘one China, with different interpretations’ (一中各表). We should stabilize these concepts in a high-level summit meeting, so that it can become a ‘highly stable framework.’ This would be good for both Taiwan and mainland China,” he said.

“Of course, it will not be easy. Therefore, in order to reduce [difficulties], a better way is for the meeting to take place during the APEC meetings. Because [at APEC] we would attend as leaders of an economic entity, and not as president or prime minister of a country,” Ma added: “We are attending meetings based on economic entities [at APEC]. So the occasion is an ‘unofficial’ meeting for leaders of economic entities. Under such circumstances, we can meet up with less apprehension and concerns,” Ma said, according to the interview.

“This is our only plan, but we cannot force the issue,” he added.

Regarding the question of Ma seeking a place in history, he replied: “This has long been a misinterpretation by others. I have never said that I care about my place in history. What I care about is history’s judgement of me.”