Beijing muffles talk of Ma-Xi meeting at next APEC forum

Staff writer, with CNA, BEIJING

Sun, Oct 20, 2013 - Page 3

Chances are slim that the leaders of Taiwan and China will meet on the sidelines of an APEC forum after a Chinese official said that such a meeting need not take place at international events.

Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Fan Liqing (范麗青) made the statement at a regular news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

She was asked about her views on commentaries in Taiwanese media suggesting that next year’s APEC leaders’ summit to be held in Beijing would be a good setting for a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

“Since a meeting between the top leaders on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is a matter for Chinese people themselves to tackle, it does not need to take place on an international occasion,” Fan said.

She said that China has for years advocated a meeting between the leaders of the two sides and adopted an active, open attitude toward any proposal that could contribute to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

As for Taiwan’s participation in the annual summit, Fan said the issue should be handled in accordance with APEC protocols and regulations.

Because of Beijing’s objections, Taiwan’s president has been barred from attending the APEC leaders’ summit in person and instead has to name an envoy to attend the meeting on their behalf each year.