Zhang Zhijun to lead China's Taiwan office
By Enru Lin ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- China's Wang Yi (王毅) has confirmed that Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) is the new director of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), the Beijing-based bureau that manages dealings with the Taiwan government.
March 18, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
Wang, former director of the State Council's TAO, told Taiwan media correspondents that Zhang has been appointed to take his place.
At a party banquet on Sunday, Wang told reporters that he has “one small regret” about his four-year tenure at TAO — that he did not have the opportunity to visit Taiwan.
The timing for a TAO director to visit Taiwan is “by-and-large mature,” said Wang, adding that he urges the new head of the office to “go to Taiwan as soon as possible.”
Wang steps up as foreign minister on Monday, and embarks shortly on a diplomatic tour of Russia with new Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Zhang is deputy foreign minister of the People's Republic of China and the Foreign Ministry's party secretary.
Earlier this month he was tipped to become the next foreign minister or to head the International Department of the Communist Party's Central Committee.
A senior Kuomintang (KMT) official praised Wang's appointment, calling it a plus for Taiwan.
As leader of Taiwan affairs since 2008, Wang is familiar with President Ma Ying-jeou's “modus vivendi” proposal, which sees both sides agreeing to disagree and directing energies on the pursuit of their own international interests, said director Kao Huei (高輝) of the KMT's Mainland Affairs Committee (大陸事務部).
Kao was more cautiously optimistic about Zhang. “We don't know much about him,” he said.
But public information shows that Zhang is a veteran in engaging with overseas political parties. Based on this background, the outlook for his interactions with Taiwan's political parties is very good, Kao continued.
Kao praised Xi's overall lineup of personnel in charge of Taiwan policy. The Chinese government is seeking to both “maintain a legacy” and “inject new blood,” in what's an orderly approach to Taiwan affairs that bodes well for cross-strait peace and stability, he said.