Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-15 05:43 PM
The encounter follows close on the past week’s groundbreaking talks in Nanjing and Shanghai between Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi and Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun.
Lien, who still serves as an honorary chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, leaves for Beijing on Monday. He should meet Xi the following day. About a year ago, the two men also met shortly after Xi had combined the presidency of the People’s Republic of China with the leadership of the Communist Party.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang said he hoped contacts between both sides would become more transparent, because the recent Wang-Zhang talks were still too secretive in some aspects. He also called on President Ma Ying-jeou to put Taiwan’s interests first and not to let himself be blinded by his hopes for a summit with Xi.
The government earlier had expressed the wish for such a historic meeting to take place at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing later this year, but Wang said Zhang told him China would not accept such an international venue.
Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said that even though Lien was traveling to Beijing in a private capacity, he still held a high function inside the KMT. In this context, Lien should take care that his words reflected the defense of the nation’s interests which such a person should insist on, Tsai said.
She praised the Wang-Zhang meeting as an important step, but cautioned against using such talks to emphasize one issue only. Contacts between Cabinet members from the two sides could become regular, but they should not be held to reach one particular aim and they should certainly not harm Taiwan’s interests, Tsai said.
Lien’s top aides emphasized that the former vice president was not taking messages to Xi. Media interest had focused on whether he would mention Ma’s wish for a summit to the Chinese leader.
Lien was scheduled to arrive in Beijing with his meeting with Xi planned for February 18. He would also visit Beijing University and the northeastern city of Shenyang.
His 80-member delegation will reportedly include Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. chairman Terry Gou, Buddhist leader Master Hsing Yun, former TSU chairman Su Chin-chiang and KMT vice chairmen Lin Feng-cheng and John Chiang. His elder son Sean Lien, who is expected to announce his Taipei City mayoral bid on February 24, will reportedly not travel along.