Taiwan President says willing to meet with Chinese leader if no political preconditions imposed

As two Koreas held a historic meeting on April 27, the media is wondering whether a meeting with the cross-strait leaders will take place again

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President Tsai Ing-wen visits three defense-related companies in southern Taiwan on April 27

President Tsai Ing-wen visits three defense-related companies in southern Taiwan on April 27 (By Central News Agency)

KAOHSIUNG (Taiwan News) — As South and North Korean leaders held a historic meeting Friday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she would be willing to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping for the sake of cross-strait peace and stability.

The meeting held at Panmunjom, a truce village between South and North Korea, was the third leaders' meeting since the political demarcation on the Korean Peninsula 70 years ago.

While the world is holding its breath, watching carefully the interactions between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the media in Taiwan once again raised the question on whether President Tsai would like to meet with Chinese President Xi.

In response, President Tsai said on Friday afternoon, “I believe that no Taiwan president will refuse to meet with the Chinese leader when there is neither political precondition nor inequality between the two sides.”

Referring to the meeting between the two Koreas, the president said she was glad to see their leaders had done their part for the region’s stability and development.

“We are willing to do anything that will encourage cross-strait peace and stability,” President Tsai reiterated her earlier statement.

In fact, sitting presidents across the Taiwan Strait have met before. In 2015, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) met with Xi in an event that was also considered “historic.” At the time however, they officially met in the capacity of party leaders, Xi as head of the Communist Party and Ma as chairman of the Kuomintang.

Since President Tsai, who also chairs the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in May 2016, the relationship between Taiwan and Beijing has worsened ever since.

The Chinese government has repeatedly attacked Tsai for not upholding the ‘1992 Consensus,’ and Premier William Lai’s recent pro-independence statement has further rattled Beijing ’s cage.

As tension across the Taiwan Strait has grown with intensified military exercises on both sides, the possibility of seeing the meeting and even handshaking between President Tsai and Xi in the foreseeable future remains highly doubtful.