Ma lauds delegation’s work at APEC forum

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Oct 12, 2013 - Page 3

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that the APEC forum is an important platform that allows Taiwan to simultaneously advance its ties with China and its international relations.

Although APEC is a multilateral regional forum, bilateral talks on the sidelines are no less important, Ma said, while receiving Taiwan’s delegation to the recent APEC leaders’ summit in Indonesia the day after their return.

Former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), who led the delegation, briefed Ma on Taiwan’s participation, saying it was fruitful.

Taiwan held bilateral talks with leaders and representatives of the world’s three largest economies — the US, China and Japan — on the sidelines of the summit, Siew said.

Indonesia expressed gratitude to Taiwan for its contribution to the smooth running of the forum, Siew said, adding that Taiwan played an active role at the meeting.

The talks on the sidelines were of crucial importance to cross-strait ties and relations between Taiwan and its major trading partners, Siew said. The discussions also demonstrated Taiwan’s efforts and resolve to promote trade liberalization, and the nation’s willingness to join regional economic integration, he said.

Taiwan was able to use the opportunity to drum up international support for its bid to enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Siew said.

In response, Ma said the meeting between Siew and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on the sidelines of the forum not only incorporated a review of the development of cross-strait relations, but that it also served to advance the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

Noting that Siew had also met with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Ma said he hopes the two countries can speed up their negotiations on a bilateral investment agreement following the resumption in March of talks under their bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

All of Siew’s bilateral meetings showed the importance of the APEC summit, Ma said, while thanking the delegation for their achievements.

Meanwhile, addressing speculation that Ma and Xi are preparing an unprecedented meeting next year, Siew told reporters yesterday that no such discussions have been held.

Siew said a possible meeting between Ma and Xi was not discussed because “that is an issue for next year.”

“All issues discussed this year were issues for this year,” Siew said about his closed-door meeting with Xi at the summit.

Siew’s meeting with Xi earlier this month focused largely on each side setting up representative offices on the other side of the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan’s aspirations to participate in regional economic integration, said Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), who was part of the delegation.