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Talk of the Day -- China imposes restrictions on Wang-Zhang meeting
Central News Agency
2014-01-27 11:30 PM
Taiwan and China's top officials in charge of bilateral affairs will finally meet face-to-face in China next month but with caveats, according to a local newspaper report. Chinese authorities reportedly have imposed many restrictions on the topics that will be addressed at the meeting between Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) head Wang Yu-chi and his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) under China's State Council. China has demanded that there be no talks on political issues, no mention of Taiwan's national title and no mention of freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the term "president" during the planned Wang-Zhang meeting. The following are excerpts from a special report in the Monday edition of the Chinese-language United Daily News on the upcoming high- level cross-Taiwan Strait meeting: The Chinese government has finalized preparations for Wang's first visit to China since he assumed his post as Taiwan's top China policy planner, according to a source familiar with the development. Though agreeing to Wang's visit, China has come up with a number of requirements, including no talks on political matters, no mentioning of Taiwan's national title "the Republic of China (ROC)" and no mentioning of such terms as "freedom," "democracy," "rule of law" and "president," the source said. China is not yet ready to accept the argument that "Taiwan is the Republic of China," according to the source. He added that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have set the tone and ground rules for the upcoming Wang-Zhang meeting after two rounds of negotiations. Under the plan, Wang is scheduled to arrive in Nanjing, the capital city when the ROC government still controlled the Chinese mainland, on Feb. 16. Wang will meet with Zhang shortly after his arrival there. The following day, Wang will visit the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and deliver a speech at Nanjing University focusing on Taiwan's development after 1949, the year when the ROC government moved its seat to Taipei after losing a civil war to the communists. Following his stop in Nanjing, Wang will travel to Shanghai where he will visit a school for children of Taiwanese expatriates and attend a seminar with academics who specialize in Taiwan affairs. A Chinese official said the Chinese government is attaching great importance to Wang's visit. The Taiwan Affairs Office has sent officials to inspect all venues where Wang and his entourage will stop during their upcoming visit, the official said. "We hope Wang's visit will be smooth and successful so as to lay a foundation for the institutionalized exchange of visits by top officials from both sides," he said. The first head of the Mainland Affairs Council to visit China, Wang will be subject to several other restrictions, including that he can only pay tribute to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the ROC, in his own capacity and not on President Ma Ying-jeou's behalf. Moreover, Chinese authorities will have to be informed ahead of time of the content of Wang's speech at Nanjing University and his press statements. Because Nanjing University students are on winter vacation, those attending his speech there will be selected by his Chinese host. Participants at the Shanghai seminar will also be handpicked by Chinese authorities. The agenda of the widely anticipated Wang-Zhang meeting will cover three themes: cross-strait economic integration, press coverage issues and the right of staff members of representative offices to make humanitarian visits, once the offices are set up. But sources familiar with the matter said the Wang-Zhang meeting may touch on topics that are not included in the official agenda. If Zhang takes the initiative to touch on issues regarding a meeting between Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Wang will respond instead of dodging it, the sources said. (Jan. 27, 2014) (By Sofia Wu) ednitem/ls
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