Wed, Mar 09, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Tsai-Xi meeting unlikely, minister says

Staff writer, with CNA

The likelihood of a meeting between president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is not great, the head of the Mainland Affairs Council said yesterday.

Mainland Affairs Council Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) said that China has repeatedly stated there must be a firm basis for any meeting between the leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Given the current situation, there is not much chance that the two sides would reach any consensus on the issue of a meeting between their leaders, Hsia said in response to questions at a question-and-answer session at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

China has less trust in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) than in the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Hsia told People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔), who was asking about a comment by Tsai that she would not rule out the possibility of a meeting with Xi.

Chinese leaders have repeatedly warned that cross-strait ties would suffer if Tsai’s government does not adhere to the so-called “1992 consensus” after it takes office on May 20.

Tsai and the DPP do not recognize the “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000. It refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what that means.

Responding to another question, Hsia said a proposal by China to construct a high-speed rail line that would link Beijing and Taipei is out of the question.

The plan is implausible, not only in terms of technology, but also politically, he said.

“This is a matter that involves Taiwan and they [China] do not have a unilateral say,” Hsia added.

The project was mentioned in a draft of China’s five-year development plan released on Saturday in Beijing.

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