Sun, Nov 08, 2015 - Page 3 News List

MA-XI MEETING: Omissions, slights mark Ma’s historic Xi meeting

RAIN ON MA’S PARADE:Ma’s arrival in Singapore was a low-key affair, while his pre-meeting comments were cut short, and excluded completely from a CCTV report

By Jake Chung  /  Staff Writer

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday holds up a book relating to the so-called “1992 consensus” at a news conference following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Singapore.

Photo: CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) reception in Singapore, and his treatment by official Chinese media, seemed to undermine his repeated assurances that he would be on an “equal footing” with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at their meeting yesterday.

The meeting between Ma and Xi is the first time that the leaders of Taiwan and China have met face to face since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the Chinese Civil War to the Chinese Communist Party and retreated to Taiwan in 1949.

Before the closed-door meeting began, Ma and Xi were allocated five minutes to give a brief rundown of the topics they wished to cover, with Xi completing his comments within the timeframe at four minutes and 30 seconds.

However, a live broadcast of Ma’s speech was giving before was abruptly cut off and all reporters were asked to leave the room, even though Ma had not yet finished.

In addition, a China Central Television (CCTV) report broadcast in China omitted footage of Ma’s speech, cutting off its broadcast after Xi had finished speaking.

Ma mentioned the so-called “1992 consensus” during his talk, but only said that it was subject to the “one China” principle, neglecting to mention the “different interpretations” component that the KMT administration typically stresses.

However, Ma’s reference to the “one China” principle was nowhere to be seen in the transcript provided by the Central News Agency.

It is unclear whether the phrase was left out intentionally or if Ma made the addition spontaneously.

The “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted to making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

Passes distributed by the Singaporean government on Friday to Taiwanese reporters — and foreign reporters who reserved media passes with the Mainland Affairs Council or the Presidential Office — used the Republic of China (ROC) calendar.

The ROC calendar starts the calendar with the formation of the ROC in 1912, according to which this year is 104.

However, the Singaporean government yesterday issued replacement media passes using the Gregorian calendar, in a move that sparked speculation about discord behind the scenes between the Taiwanese, Chinese and Singaporean governments.

In related news, according to a Facebook post by one of the reporters attending the event, a Taiwanese woman at the Shangri-La Hotel was forcefully evicted from the premises by the Singaporean police at the request of Chinese officials after they saw her waving an ROC flag at the hotel in support of Ma, even though many Chinese onlookers were waving Chinese national flags.

Xi was given the red-carpet treatement on his arrival on Friday, and was met by Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in a ceremony that received much media attention.

However, Ma’s arrival was decidedly more low-key, and he was received by the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs Northeast Asia Division Deputy Director and member of parliament Cedric Foo (符致鏡), who offered his greetings on the behalf of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍).

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