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June 24, 2017

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No instructions given on Wang-Zhang meet: Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said on Sunday in Honduras that he hasn't set a list of objectives for the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) with regard to the planned meeting between MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).

When asked if there is a chance of him visiting mainland China, Ma said that he hasn't excluded the possibility of meeting the mainland Chinese leader, but there has to be a set of beneficial conditions in place in order for that to happen.

The president described the planned meeting between Wang and Zhang as an important step toward bettering cross-strait ties.

Mutual non-recognition of sovereignty and mutual non-denial of jurisdiction are integral to the improvement of cross-strait ties, Ma explained.

This is a path that both sides of the strait must take in order for their relations to improve, the president added.

Ma said that he would like to meet the leader of mainland China if the right conditions gradually fall into place, but that the main objective is to maintain and propel the progress on cross-strait relations achieved over the past five years.

Both sides have seen more advantages than disadvantages in the development of cross-strait ties over the past five years, the president added.

When asked if economic cooperation between R.O.C. allies and mainland China would affect the R.O.C.'s relations with its allies, Ma said that the leaders of ally states have all told him that their governments are committed to maintaining official ties with the R.O.C.

The R.O.C. is not opposed to its allies having nonofficial economic relations with mainland China, the president added.

Ma explained that before he took office, a lot of these diplomatic allies already had very close trade relations with mainland China.

Given that the R.O.C. itself has close trade relations with the mainland, it is not in a position to object to its allies having trade relations with mainland China, the president said.

MAC Expected to Make Meeting Announcement Today

Meanwhile, Wang said that he will maintain the government's position by visiting mainland China under the principle of equal integrity.

Wang added that preparation for the planned meeting has reached its final phase, and that the MAC is slated to make an announcement on Tuesday.

Rumors have emerged claiming that Wang is planning to leave for mainland China before Chinese New Year and stay there until after Lantern Festival, in order to get back to Taiwan in time for the opening of the legislative session.

Wang and Zhang met each other at the APEC meeting in October. The two reportedly referred to each other by their formal titles and spoke about setting up a mechanism for periodic visits between the heads of the MAC and TAO.

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