MAC and TAO ministers to meet for second time

Observers look out for discussion on Ma-Xi summit

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The topic of an eventual cross-straits summit between President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese leader Xi Jinping could come up at the second meeting this week between Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi and Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun, reports said Friday.
Zhang arrived for his first-ever official visit to Taiwan on Wednesday and immediately held formal talks with Wang, which resulted in a general agreement. In future, when Taiwan and China will have representative offices in each other’s territory, officials will be allowed to pay humanitarian visits to prisoners, reports said.
Friday’s meeting in Kaohsiung was more informal, and came in the wake of talks between Zhang and the city’s Democratic Progressive Party Mayor, Chen Chu. The Chinese minister also visited a wetlands area and a major Buddhist center in the area.
Taiwan has repeatedly mentioned this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in China as the perfect site for a historic encounter between Ma and Xi, but Beijing has rejected international conferences as unsuitable for a cross-straits meeting. Taiwan from its side was also skeptical about Chinese proposals for a meeting in a third location or for a Xi trip to Taiwan.
Taiwanese officials have suggested the choice of APEC would make it easier to keep away from thorny issues such as Taiwan’s sovereignty and the title of president, which China does not recognize. Since member states of APEC are listed as “economies” or “economic entities” and their presidents or premiers as “leaders,” Beijing would be able to avoid problems stemming from its own ideological principles, observers said.
Cable station TVBS suggested Zhang had invited New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu to visit China and meet Xi before Ma ever did. Despite claims to the contrary, Chu is often mentioned as the most likely Kuomintang candidate in the 2016 presidential election, though there have been stories in the media about bad feelings between the president and the mayor.
Because of the March 18-April 10 occupation of the Legislative Yuan by students opposed to the trade-in-services pact with China, eventual trade concessions by Beijing will be regarded as too little, commentators said. The communist leaders needed to come up with major groundbreaking moves if they wanted to win Taiwan’s trust, reports said.
Wang told reporters Friday morning that he would not broach the issue of a cross-straits summit during the meeting with Zhang, even though there was still a possibility that the Chinese minister brought up political issues himself, reports said.