Thu, Oct 26, 2017 - Page 3 News List

MAC head hopeful on meeting

‘STATUS QUO’:Minister Katharine Chang cited US Department of State officials as saying that there would be no fourth communique after the Trump-Xi meeting

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Katharine Chang (張小月) yesterday expressed her hopes of meeting with former Chinese permanent representative to the UN Liu Jieyi (劉結一), who has been tapped to head China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), and resuming a disconnected hotline between her and her Chinese counterparts.

Chang made the remarks at a legislative session, in which she was asked by lawmakers to comment on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) new personnel arrangements and their possible subsequent effects on cross-strait relations.

Following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) consolidation of power at the CCP’s 19th National Congress, he will now be able to execute policies related to Taiwan based entirely on his own will, Chang said.

“However, cross-strait relations do not only involve Taiwan and China,” Chang said, adding that the global state of affairs would also influence development across the Taiwan Strait.

Asked by People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) whether she would meet Liu and whether a hotline between the two governments would be re-established, Chang said that she hopes to meet Liu and looks forward to re-establishing cross-strait communication.

Liu was earlier this month appointed vice minister of the TAO and was elected to the CCP Central Committee at the five-yearly congress that ended on Tuesday. He is expected to replace TAO Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).

Chang predicted that China would maintain its carrot-and-stick approach to Taiwan, saying that Beijing will likely maintain an icy official attitude toward the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) while offering incentives to Taiwanese to visit China and enjoy exchanges with Chinese.

Regarding the “status quo,” she also forecast that an upcoming meeting between Xi and US President Donald Trump will result in no unexpected announcements regarding cross-strait relations.

Chang said US Department of State officials have informed Taiwan’s representative office in the US that there will be no signing of a rumored fourth communique between Washington and Beijing.

As Beijing pushes ahead with the “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” an ideology intended to increase and solidify China’s leadership role in international politics and business, Chang urged the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to come up with a new model for coexistence and collaboration.

She called for an amicable relationship that respects Taiwan’s right to participate in international organizations.

As the Trump-Xi meeting is to take place next month in China, Chang said that the council would continue to monitor developments and remain in close contact with Washington.

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