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Finance Ministry will lead talks on Taiwan's AIIB bid: MAC official

Taipei, April 2 (CNA) Now that Taiwan has submitted a letter of intent on joining the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), it will be the Ministry of Finance that takes the lead role in follow-up negotiations with China on the matter, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said Thursday. The government submitted the letter of intent on joining the AIIB as a founding member by the March 31 deadline. The Ministry of Finance faxed one copy of the letter to the AIIB's provisional secretariat, while the MAC, the government agency in charge of relations with China, delivered another to China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), which then forwarded it to the secretariat. MAC Deputy Minister Lin Chu-chia (???) said during a legislative interpellation session that given the special relationship between Taiwan and China and because the AIIB preparatory office is set up under China's Ministry of Finance, the letter was submitted through dual channels based on a tacit agreeement between the two sides. However, since the AIIB is an international organization, the Ministry of Finance will be responsible for negotiating with its Chinese counterpart over issues relating to Taiwan joining the financial institution, Lin added. He was responding to an opposition legislator's question as to why the government sent the letter of intent through both the MAC and the Finance Ministry. Lin also stated that the MAC and the TAO will not be involved in follow-up negotiations on the matter. Asked whether the MAC had talked to the Chinese side about the "name and title" issue regarding Taiwan's application to join the institution before former Vice President Vincent Siew expressed Taiwan's interest in joining during the Boao Forum for Asia in late March, Lin said that the matter is not within the purview of the MAC. He also said that the MAC has not exchanged views with China on the AIIB issue but has only helped the Finance Ministry to communicate smoothly with its Chinese counterpart. Regarding protests launched by local civic groups against the way the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou has handled Taiwan's application and whether they will affect the holding of a long-awaited summit between MAC Minister Hsia Li-yan (???) and his Chinese counterpart, TAO head Zhang Zhijun (???), Lin said the MAC still hopes the summit will take place before the middle of the year. (By Yin Chun-chie and Evelyn Kao)

Updated : 2021-09-23 08:55 GMT+08:00