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Feasibility of Ma-Xi APEC meet not high: minister

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that the feasibility of getting President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) to meet at the upcoming APEC meeting in Beijing is not high.

As for the feasibility of Ma meeting Xi at the Boao Forum for Asia (博鰲論壇), Wang said that the matter has to be looked into first.

Wang made the comments during a radio interview yesterday.

The APEC economic leaders' meeting is an international meeting, and mainland China may be somewhat apprehensive about getting the leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait to meet in such a context, Wang said, adding that the government doesn't have any alternative plans at the moment.

When asked if the Boao Forum for Asia would be a suitable occasion, the minister said that the idea has to be studied first.

Wang said that the MAC had communicated with the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) over the itinerary of his recent visit to mainland China, and that although the mainland Chinese authorities expressed some minor objections, the MAC stood firm on its position.

“If there hadn't been a consensus, (I) wouldn't have gone there,” the minister said, adding that the mainland Chinese authorities had expressed a degree of good will.

Mainland China on Ma-Xi Meet

In response to the idea of Xi and Ma meeting at the APEC economic leaders' meeting in Beijing this year, the TAO said yesterday that getting the leaders from both sides of the strait to meet is something that mainland China has been advocating for a long time, but that relevant APEC memoranda of understanding should be referred to.

The subject of a cross-strait leaders' meeting was not on the agenda of the recent Wang-Zhang (TAO Minister Zhang Zhijun) meet, TAO spokeswoman Fan Liqing (范麗青) said.

The spokeswoman added, however, that both sides expressed their opinions on the idea in a nonofficial context.

The Wang-Zhang meet was an important step toward fully developing cross-strait ties, and since the first step has been taken, a second and third step will ensue, the spokeswoman said.

Mainland China has to ensure that each step is carefully taken so that substantial benefits can be brought to people on both sides of the strait, Fan added.

A cross-strait leaders' meeting is something that mainland China has been advocating for a long time, Fan said, adding that mainland China has always maintained an active and open attitude toward the idea.

People on both sides of the strait wish to see their leaders meet and help promote peaceful development for the benefit of all, the spokeswoman said.

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