The economic ministers of Taiwan and China were tight-lipped yesterday after meeting on the sidelines of the APEC forum in Singapore.
Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) held an hour-long closed-door meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel with Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming (陳德銘) to exchange views on economic issues.
The two men had earlier in the day attended the APEC trade ministers' meeting at the same hotel.
At an APEC news conference with international media, Yiin and Chen declined to talk about whether their private meeting or their encounter at the APEC conference included any discussion of issues related to cross-strait economic cooperation.
Yiin arrived in Singapore on Sunday for the APEC meeting, which ended yesterday. It was reported that Chen would return to China yesterday evening and that he was not scheduled to meet representatives from any other APEC member states except Singapore.
The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is hoping to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China, saying this would prevent Taiwan from being marginalized amid the current trend of regional economic integration. Both sides have studied the feasibility of inking an ECFA and are likely to soon begin joint research on issues of mutual concern, prior to formal talks which may begin later this year.
Critics, however, said that signing an ECFA would make Taiwan too economically dependent on China. On Tuesday, the Democratic Progressive Party completed the first stage of its application to hold a referendum, delivering 150,000 signatures petitioning for a referendum on the issue to the Central Election Committee.