A summit between top leaders from Taiwan and China this year could be the No. 1 highlight in the development of relations between the two sides, said a Chinese expert on Taiwan affairs, who added that a meeting’s likelihood was “increasing ceaselessly.”
Ni Yongjie (倪永傑), deputy director of the Shanghai-based Institute of Taiwan Studies, made his forecast in an article on Tuesday, which was carried by Beijing media.
The forecast came on the heels of a statement by Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) that this year’s APEC leaders’ meeting in China would be an “appropriate occasion” for such a meeting.
In spite of Taiwan’s insistence that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would have to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in his capacity as president of the Republic of China, Ni said it would be “most natural” for Ma to meet Xi as chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), or as the top leader of the Taiwan region.
When they do meet, the two can call each other “brother” — “Brother Ying-jeou” and “Brother Jinping” — as a way of demonstrating the closeness of the relationship between the people of Taiwan and China under the principle that “blood is thicker than water,” Ni added.
Assuming it occurs, the meeting would be a “historic event that shakes the world, that changes cross-strait relations, that changes China and even influences the entire world,” Ni said.
Ni said there would be “four highlights” for cross-strait ties this year, with the Ma-Xi meeting ranked first. Second on the list was a scheduled meeting between Wang and Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), which Ni said would herald “major political interactions between Taiwan and China.”
Ni said Wang and Zhang would likely broach a Ma-Xi meeting, though Wang has denied that the subject would be on the agenda.
The third highlight predicted by Ni was the establishment of a China office by the Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and one in Taiwan by the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.