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After Ma-Xi meeting, scholars question what will come next

Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) The key concern after the Nov. 7 meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (???) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (???) in Singapore is whether the two sides will continue on a path of peaceful development, Taiwanese scholars said Sunday. At a seminar on the outlook for cross-Taiwan Strait relations after the Ma-Xi meeting, Andy Chang (???), director of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of China Studies, said what really concerned Beijing during the meeting was whether bilateral relations would continue to develop peacefully after Taiwan's presidential election in January 2016. In addition to Ma, Beijing also took into consideration whether Taiwan's next leader will follow the path of continuing peaceful development across the strait, Chang said. The candidate of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, Tsai Ing-wen (???), is considered a virtual lock to take power, and the party is considered far more mistrustful of China than the current Kuomintang administration. Chang suggested that regardless of which political party comes into power in Taiwan, it should push for reconciliation among political parties through dialogue. A divided Taiwan will absolutely not lead to peace and stability in cross-strait relations, Chang said. Meanwhile, Kou Chien-wen (???), the director of the Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies at National Chengchi University, said obstacles have surfaced in cross-strait negotiations in the past few years and changes are expected in the attitude of Beijing officials toward bilateral ties after the Ma-Xi summit. It was reported that China is willing to consider the issue of Taiwan's international space as long as Taiwan's participation in international activities "does not create the perception of 'two Chinas,' or 'one China, one Taiwan.'" Kou said that if China wants to extend its goodwill to Taiwan to allow it to expand its international space, Beijing should change its unilateral interpretation of "two Chinas," or "one China, one Taiwan." It will be worth watching whether negotiations on a cross-strait trade-in-goods agreement and on allowing Chinese nationals to transit through Taiwanese airports on overseas trips will yield substantial results in the next few months, he said. If changes occur in Beijing's attitude toward these issues, the value of the Ma-Xi meeting could be boosted. Kou said, meanwhile, that it was regrettable that Ma did not make clear Taiwan's stance on the "1992 consensus" of "one China, respective interpretations" when greeting Xi before their meeting and during the international press conference after the meeting, Kou said. Tung Chen-yuan (???), a distinguished professor at National Chengchi and president of Cross-Strait Policy Association (Taiwan), said in a commentary issued Sunday that the Ma-Xi meeting achieved no substantial breakthrough in policies and failed to cause a huge impact on cross-strait relations. Moreover, the Ma-Xi summit, he argued, was only a one-time meeting and will not become a precedent for regular meetings between the leaders of the two sides across the strait. Beijing was trying to pressure the DPP's Tsai to change the party's cross-strait policy and may not want to meet with future presidents of Taiwan regularly, according to Tung. (By C.C. Yin and Evelyn Kao)


Updated : 2021-09-25 04:49 GMT+08:00