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Chinese scholar sees 'increasing chance' of Ma-Xi meet

Taipei, Dec. 31 (CNA) A highlight of the development in relations between Taiwan and China in 2014 could be a summit meeting between top leaders on both sides, a Chinese expert on Taiwan affairs said Tuesday, calling its likelihood "increasing ceaselessly." Ni Yongjie, deputy director of the Shanghai-based Institute of Taiwan Studies, made his forecast in an article carried by Beijing media. The forecast came on the heels of a statement by Wang Yu-chi, Taiwan's top official in charge of cross-strait affairs, that the 2014 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' meeting in China would be an "appropriate occasion" for such a meeting. In spite of Taiwan's insistence that Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou would have to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in his capacity as president of the Republic of China, Ni said it would be "most natural" for Ma to meet Xi as chairman of Taiwan's ruling party, the Kuomintang (KMT), or as the top leader of the Taiwan region. When they do meet, Ni added, the two can call each other "brother" -- "Brother Ying-jeou" and "Brother Jinping" -- as a way of demonstrating the closeness of relationship between the peoples of Taiwan and China under the principle that "blood is thicker than water." Assuming it occurs, the meeting would be a "historic event that shakes the world, that changes cross-strait relations, that changes China and even influences the entire world." Ni predicted "four highlights" in the new year for cross-strait ties, with the Ma-Xi meeting ranking first. Second on the list is a scheduled meeting of Wang, the Mainland Affairs Council minister, with Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun, minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, which Ni said would herald "major political interactions between Taiwan and China." Ni said Wang and Zhang would likely broach a Ma-Xi meeting, though Wang has expressly denied that that would be on the agenda. The third predicted highlight is the establishment of an office by Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation in China and one by China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits in Taiwan. Ni's forecast of the fourth highlight involves the promotion of cooperation between free trade zones in Taiwan and China. (By Chou Hui-ying and S.C. Chang)

Updated : 2022-05-25 04:49 GMT+08:00