Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-18 03:59 PM
Before the 5 p.m. encounter started, attention focused on whether Lien would mention President Ma Ying-jeou’s hopes for a cross-straits summit, eventually at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing later this year.
During an unprecedented meeting last week, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi raised the topic with his counterpart, Zhang Zhijun of the Taiwan Affairs Office. However, the latter rejected APEC as a potential location.
China does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign and independent nation and therefore does not want to give the island nation an international platform. At APEC summits, Taiwan has usually been represented by former vice presidents or vice presidents-elect.
Lien told Xi that cross-straits relations should proceed under the framework of One China, saying it was clearer than before that the relationship could not be described as an international relationship. The former vice president reportedly also emphasized his adherence to the “1992 Consensus,” which lists Taiwan and China as supporting One China, though each could have its own interpretation of that concept. As critics in Taiwan frequently remark, Chinese officials never mention the phrase about separate interpretations.
Lien voiced the hope that cross-straits relations would move up step by step, and the more they developed, the further and the higher they would go.
In his conversation with Lien, Xi praised last week’s meeting between Wang and Zhang, the first between serving Cabinet members of both sides, as extremely significant, reports said.
According to comments by Lien’s top aide, Ting Yuan-chao, made to reporters before the meeting, the former vice president would give his ideas about the One China issue and about the reality of the existence of the Republic of China during his encounter with Xi. Ting did not say whether he would also comment on a Ma-Xi summit.
The two men also met about a year ago, just as Xi was consolidating his power in his roles of Communist Party general secretary and president of China. Lien provoked comments by mentioning a “One China framework” during the February 25 meeting. Meeting then-President Hu Jintao in February 2013, he predicted that political talks between Taiwan and China were unavoidable. Lien has been a relatively frequent visitor to the country since 2005, when he traveled there as chairman of the then-opposition Kuomintang.
In order to let China get acquainted with a wider range of opinions from Taiwan, Lien took along an 80-member delegation with him this time. The group includes one of Taiwan’s wealthiest business people, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. chairman Terry Gou, as well as Buddhist leader Master Hsing Yun and representatives from labor unions, reports said.
Ting said that the former vice president wanted to let it be known that Taiwan-China relations were not solely the affair of one person or of one political party, but that the existence of the Republic of China on Taiwan was a truth that could not be denied. Lien would touch on the topic during his conversation with Xi, Ting said.
In response to Xi’s frequent mention of a Chinese dream, Lien would explain a “Taiwanese dream” that the people of Taiwan hoped that both sides could face reality and walk a new road, according to Ting.
Former Premier Frank Hsieh said Lien was only thinking of mentioning the ROC because his son, Sean Lien, was about to announce a bid to run in the year-end Taipei City mayoral election.
At a meeting with Beijing Communist Party chief Guo Jinlong Tuesday morning, Lien emphasized he was not representing any political party, even though he still serves as honorary chairman of the KMT. All he wanted to do was to hear opinions from China’s grassroots and help the voice of Taiwan’s public at large be heard in China, he said.
Lien left Taiwan on Monday for the three-day trip. He was also expected to travel up to the northeastern city of Shenyang in Liaoning Province.
A meeting of MAC advisers in Taipei reportedly called for caution in embarking on political talks with China. If the process went forward too quickly, it might harm both sides, advisers reportedly said. Political and social understanding and goodwill between both sides were still too weak at present to allow for successful results, reports said. China should first allow Taiwan to raise its international profile and gain more space, MAC advisers apparently said.