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Ex-VP Siew meets Chinese premier at Boao

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) on Thursday reiterated to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) Taiwan's intention to join the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the Boao Forum for Asia.

However, Siew said, no matter how the government breaks its back to enlist international support for Taiwan to join any trade bloc, all the efforts will go down the drain without the blessing of 23 million people on the island. “Are you ready, Taiwan?” Siew asked through Taiwanese media.

Siew told Li Keqiang yesterday that Taiwan and China should push for greater bilateral trade liberalization and that Taiwan needs to join regional trade blocs. The meeting between Siew and Li took place in Boao, Hainan Province in China, after the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia's annual conference earlier in the day, according to the Central News Agency.

Siew is attending the forum in his capacity as the honorary chairman of the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation.

At a press conference after the meeting, Siew said he suggested to Li that Taiwan and China build a cooperative economic relationship and strive to achieve freer bilateral trade.

Siew said he also highlighted Taiwan's wish for integration into the regional economy by joining trade blocs such as the RCEP, which is being negotiated by the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

He said he also floated the idea of an “economic strategic dialogue” with China and better “coordination on policies” between the two sides.

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Siew and Li shake hands for photos after the meeting at Boao Forum for Asia on Thursday. According to reports, the Siew-Li talk was focused on Taiwan's intention to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

(CNA)

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