Siew and China's Xi meet at APEC
The China Post news staff and agenciesTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Vice-President Vincent Siew held talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping yesterday ahead of a regional economic summit in Indonesia, Chinese state media reported, in the latest sign of warming ties between the two countries.
October 7, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
Siew met Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which starts Monday, the Xinhua News Agency said.
The first such China-Taiwan meeting at the APEC forum was in 2008 when tensions between the two started thawing.
Xi told Siew that a political solution to a standoff over sovereignty lasting more than six decades cannot be postponed forever.
“Increasing mutual political trust across the Taiwan Straits and jointly building up political foundations are crucial for ensuring the peaceful development of relations,” Xinhua paraphrased Xi as saying.
“Looking further ahead, the issue of political disagreements that exist between the two sides must reach a final resolution, step by step, and these issues cannot be passed on from generation to generation,” Xi added.
“I have already said many times that (we are) willing to have equal consultations with Taiwan on cross-strait issues within the framework of the one-China (principle), and make reasonable and fair arrangements for this.”
Xi emphasized that both sides should keep pushing for the peaceful development of relations, Xinhua said.
He added that the idea of “both sides of the strait being one family” should be advocated.
Xi also said that both sides should strengthen communication and cooperation and work together to rejuvenate the Chinese nation.
Xi has been head of China's ruling Communist Party since last November and became state president in March.
Xi's comments drew a cool and non-committal response from Siew.
“Both sides need greater understanding,” Siew told reporters, adding that he and Xi did not discuss the possibility of a Xi-Ma meeting. “If we can find a consensus, then we can slowly find a reasonable, rational plan to resolve things.”
Siew, honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation and the island's special envoy to APEC, said on Tuesday ahead of the meeting that the discussion would be brief and focused on bilateral economic and trade issues along with increasing regional economic integration. He also said he would not deliver any special message to Xi from President Ma Ying-jeou, and discussions would not touch on “things in the future.”
Taiwan's leaders are barred from APEC summits due to objections from China, which claims sovereignty over the island, and are represented instead by senior economic advisers or business leaders.
China still considers Taiwan part of its territory even though the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.
Ties, however, have improved markedly since Ma, of the China-friendly Kuomintang party, took power in 2008 on a platform of promoting trade and reconciliation with the mainland.
Ma was re-elected in January 2012.
In June 2010, Taiwan and China signed the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, a pact widely seen as the boldest step yet toward reconciliation.
Taiwan has been a major investor in China in recent years, providing more than US$100 billion in financing according to some estimates, as well as technological know-how.