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Kinmen meeting with China envoy postponed after air crash

Kinmen meeting with China envoy postponed after air crash

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun has postponed his planned weekend meeting with Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi after the TransAsia Airways crash, both sides announced Thursday.
The two Cabinet members had scheduled their third meeting in a year on the island of Kinmen Saturday afternoon.
However, the crash of a flight to Kinmen in Taipei Wednesday morning, resulting in the deaths of more than 30 people, many of them Chinese tourists, forced the talks to be delayed until a yet-to-be-determined date.
The MAC announced the change at a special news conference Thursday afternoon. It had only revealed the details and schedule for the meeting one day before.
Zhang had planned to arrive on Kinmen, close to China’s Fujian Province, Saturday afternoon and almost immediately begin talks with Wang, followed by separate news conferences.
On Sunday, Zhang planned to tour a dam, the local distillery, bed & breakfasts and meet with Kinmen County Magistrate Chen Fu-hai and with local residents. The Chinese envoy had also planned to tour factories making other typical local products before returning to China Sunday evening.
However, his weekend stay on Kinmen would not only have featured sightseeing but also potential complaints from Taiwan about China’s unilateral decision to open flight routes close to the median line in the Taiwan Straits beginning next month.
The fact that the dispute had not yet been resolved might also have been a factor in the postponement of the meeting between the two Cabinet officials, reports said.
The issue has provoked strong reactions from all sides of the political spectrum in Taiwan, with the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party calling for a cancelation of the Kinmen meeting altogether and for the scrapping of any other cross-straits negotiations.
Other issues on the agenda for any future meeting between Wang and Zhang also include illegal fishing and dredging by Chinese vessels close to Kinmen, the pollution of its beaches by refuse floating in from China, and measures to promote tourism.
Wang already met his Chinese counterpart twice before, in the Chinese city of Nanjing last February and in Taipei in June.


Updated : 2021-09-27 08:04 GMT+08:00