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Ma-Xi summit prepared for 2 years

Ma-Xi summit prepared for 2 years

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The weekend summit between President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been in the works for two years, the Presidential Office said Wednesday, rebutting opposition accusations that the event had been hastily put together.
Ma will fly to Singapore on Saturday noon before meeting Xi at the Shangri-La Hotel at 3 p.m. There will also be separate news conferences and a dinner later that day, officials said.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party accused Ma of having been too secretive in preparing for the event, while electoral considerations also might have played a part. The DPP also cautioned the president against making promises which would have to be kept by the government elected next January 16, as Ma was scheduled to leave office on May 20.
Presidential spokesman Charles Chen denied the opposition accusation that the summit had been a last-minute rush purely designed to help the faltering Kuomintang in the elections.
Preparations for the meeting have taken place over the past two years, Chen said.
At a separate news conference, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Andrew Hsia said the suggestion to pick Singapore as a meeting place occurred during off-the-cuff remarks with his Chinese counterpart, Taiwan Affairs Office chief Zhang Zhijun. It was apparently Zhang who first mentioned the city state, Hsia was reported as saying. The inspiration came from the first high-level cross-straits meeting held in Singapore in 1993 between Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman C.F. Koo and Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits head Wang Daohan, the minister said.
Hsia described the plan for the summit as the logical continuation of round of meetings between top officials from Taiwan and China over the past few years. MAC ministers had met heads of the TAO six times already, he said.
After Ma was elected in 2008, the SEF and ARATS held two meetings each year during which agreements were signed, mostly related to trade, economy and tourism.
Only much later did meetings at the MAC and TAO level take place, Hsia pointed out, while leading figures from both sides would also meet at Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summits. Ma had originally proposed that the two presidents meet at such an annual APEC event, but China rejected the idea, as it does not recognize Taiwan as a separate nation and thus wanted to avoid an international arena for the encounter.


Updated : 2021-09-17 11:26 GMT+08:00