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Ma treading a thin line in APEC meet suggestion

President Ma Ying-jeou, true to his penchant for making big announcements in foreign media interviews, recently told a Hong Kong-based newsweekly that he would like to attend the 2014 APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing.

According to a transcript of the interview published on the Yazhou Zhoukan (“Asian Weekly” in Chinese) website, Ma did not specifically talk about going to the Beijing APEC (“I will be willing to go to APEC meetings wherever they are held,” he said). He also did not specifically call for a meeting between himself and Chinese President Xi Jinping, but his intention was clear.

He described the APEC forum as an adequate venue for cross-strait heads of state to circumvent thorny political issues and meet. “The APEC forum is not called a summit but a meeting of leaders of (regional) economies. The attendees are not addressed as presidents or heads of states but as leaders,” Ma said. Since Taipei and Beijing do not recognize each other's sovereignty, “it will be difficult (for him to hold a meeting in mainland China in the capacity of President of the Republic of China), that's why people came up with APEC (as an ideal venue for meetings between cross-strait leaders).”

“... there will be less pressure for both sides. (Both the Chinese and Taiwanese leaders) will be addressed as leaders so a lot of things can proceed smoothly,” he said.

In terms of navigating the Gordian Knot of ideological issues concerning the cross-strait political dilemma, Ma's plan for APEC sounds feasible.

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