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Scholars see only a slight chance for a Ma-Xi meeting this year
Central News Agency
2014-01-10 11:37 PM
Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) Most Taiwanese scholars believe that there is only a slight chance that Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping this year, although there are opportunities for such a meeting to occur. The idea was expressed at a conference held by the Taiwan Competitiveness Forum at the Legislative Yuan Friday. At the forum, scholars joined in a review of cross-Taiwan Strait relations in 2013. Chang Ya-chung, a National Taiwan University politics professor, said that as long as the two sides insist on their separate stance on sovereignty issues, no breakthrough would be achieved on beginning cross-strait political dialogues in 2014 and establishing a military confidence building mechanism. Chang added that under Ma's three conditions for meeting with Xi, which are the need by the nation, support from Taiwan's people, and maintenance of national dignity, it is relatively difficult to promote a meeting between Ma and Xi. Other scholars at the forum echoed his views. However, Chang said an expected meeting between Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi and China's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun in February would play a significant role in the development of cross-strait relations. Echoing Chang, Wu Tung-yeh, a research fellow of the Institute of International Relations under National Chengchi University, said it's not possible for Beijing to accept a Ma-Xi meeting because Ma has been avoiding touching on China's "one China" policy and Ma's three conditions for holding such a meeting have yet to be met. There have been suggestions in Taiwan that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to be held in Beijing in October could provide an opportunity for the two leaders to meet for the first time as ties between Taiwan and China have improved dramatically since Ma took office in 2008.

So far, Taiwan's president has been barred from the APEC leaders' annual summit at the insistence of the Chinese government. (By Scarlett Chai and Elizabeth Hsu)

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