Taiwanese would not necessarily support President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) aspiration to attend this year’s APEC leaders’ summit if all he wanted to achieve by such a move was meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
Ma told TVBS in an interview on Monday that the necessary conditions are not currently in place for him to attend the APEC summit in October this year in Bali, Indonesia, but he will continue his efforts to create a framework under which he could attend.
The DPP supports Taiwan’s desire for a presence at the summit, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a news conference, but said that Ma has not previously shown much interest in attending the meeting over the past five years.
“Everyone would support Ma’s participation if his presence expanded Taiwan’s international participation and had a positive influence on its economic development. However, if his sudden shift of attention to APEC is only to serve his personal agenda of meeting Xi, people may change their minds on the issue,” Lin said.
Since 1994, it has been standard APEC practice for the host country to send a representative to Taipei to deliver an invitation for the president to attend the summit. The president would then decline the invitation and appoint an envoy to go in his stead.
Lin said the DPP suspects that Ma “is really thinking about attending the leaders’ summit next year in Shanghai.”
Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) shared the same concern.
Speaking on Friday at a DPP-organized seminar on cross-strait relations, Lu said the likelihood of Ma attending the Bali summit is “very slim” because “a Chinese president is not likely to meet a Taiwanese president on foreign soil, which would have political implications regarding sovereignty.”
“Ma’s real goal could be [meeting with Xi in] Shanghai,” she said, adding that if Ma did meet Xi in Shanghai, his capacity in the meeting would be under the public spotlight.