Ma’s office calls for evidence of withholding

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Mar 14, 2018 - Page 1

Former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) office yesterday demanded evidence of media allegations that his administration did not hand over all information on his 2015 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration.

All communications and negotiations regarding the Ma-Xi meeting were conducted through the official cross-strait mechanism, with the legislature being briefed before and after, Ma’s office spokeswoman Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) said.

The meeting took place on Nov. 7, 2015, in Singapore, the first time the leaders from both sides of the Taiwan Strait met since the end of the Chinese Civil War.

“The entire process was open and transparent. If any high-level officials in the current administration believe there was a secret envoy or hidden skeletons, please do not hide behind anonymity and come forward with concrete evidence,” she said.

There was no need for Ma to communicate with China through a secret envoy, as he had established an official cross-strait communication channel, Hsu said, adding that the Tsai administration should refrain from questioning its predecessor, because it is incapable of maintaining a good relationship with Beijing.

Hsu was responding to an article published by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) yesterday that quoted an anonymous high-level official as saying the documents they have received were mostly correspondence between the two sides that occurred after the meeting had been confirmed to take place in Singapore.

Ma and Xi presumably could have been in contact with each other through a side channel for up to two years, which explained why no relevant records were passed on to the Tsai administration, the report quoted the source as saying.

The Presidential Office yesterday issued a statement saying that as part of the transfer of government power, the administration received four files about the meeting dated between Oct. 14, 2015, and the day of the meeting.

On Oct. 14, 2015, then-Mainland Affairs Council minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) met with Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) in Guangzhou, China.

“As to whether there were any documents and records dated before or after the aforementioned time period that should have also been archived and transferred in accordance with the Archives Act (檔案法), that is something for the former president and other concerned parties to clarify,” the Presidential Office added.