President Ma still hopes for APEC summit with Xi

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou was still hoping to meet China’s President Xi Jinping at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing later this year despite the low likelihood of this happening, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported Saturday.
The Japanese newspaper interviewed Ma in Taipei on Friday.
The president has for some time uttered the possibility of holding a historic meeting with his Chinese counterpart in the near future, but Beijing has reacted coolly, mainly because it does not want the summit to take place in the margin of an international event.
As he has done on previous occasions, Ma said November’s APEC summit in Shanghai would be the best possible site, especially because participants are labeled as “economic entities” and not as countries, and the individuals are named as “leaders” and not as presidents or prime ministers. China has consistently refused to recognize Taiwan as a country and to use the official titles for its government leaders.
When asked about Xi’s insistence that political issues between the two sides could not be left until the next generation, Ma told the Yomiuri Shimbun that economic issues had to be dealt with before political problems. Because of this attitude, Xi was unlikely to agree to a summit with him in the near future, the Japanese newspaper commented.
Ma said the government at present held no alternative to the APEC summit as a venue for a meeting with the president of China. Responding to critics, he said a cross-straits summit would only take place if the country needed it and the public could support it, while the Legislative Yuan would also have to monitor the meeting.
The president rejected the analysis that he had been too fast in trying to force through the trade-in-services pact with China, describing it as a “really big misunderstanding.” He reiterated his disapproval of the students who occupied the Legislative Yuan from March 18 to April 10 in protest against the trade accord and said he would still promote it. A special legislative session slated for later in June is expected to review the pact.
Turning to relations with Japan, Ma said he had not made concessions detrimental to Taiwan’s sovereignty when concluding a fisheries agreement with Tokyo last year. In effect, fishing disputes between the two nations had fallen sharply as a result, he said. Ma described the current period as having the most positive relations between Taiwan and Japan ever. He expressed the hope for a Free Trade Agreement with Tokyo and for membership of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.