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June 25, 2017

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Taiwan not fully sold on '1992 consensus': ARATS

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Beijing's top cross-strait negotiator said yesterday that the "1992 consensus" has yet to receive universal acceptance in Taiwan.

When asked if the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation's functions have been taken over by the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) and the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Chen asked in return, "Have the issues of sovereignty and jurisdiction been resolved? Have (disputes over) the one China framework been resolved? I hope they can be resolved," ARATS President Chen Deming (陳德銘) said.

Having a third choice of location for a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) would be "nice," Chen said.

The term "third location" used in this context has often been interpreted as somewhere apart from mainland China and Taiwan, such as Hong Kong.

When asked by reporters if a "third location" meant Hong Kong, Chen replied that the term doesn't necessarily mean Hong Kong, and that there are alternatives.

When asked if Macau would be a possible alternative, Chen said that holding a Ma-Xi meet in Macau and Hong Kong are conceptually the same.

Chen added that mainland China has an open attitude toward the question of location.

TAO Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) repeatedly said that a meeting between family members can take place at many occasions, and that such a meeting need not take place at an international and/or multilateral event, Chen said. "It could be held in mainland China, in Taiwan or a third location.

"I personally think that the crux of the matter is for everyone to really see the '1992 consensus' and the 'one China framework,' to see that the two sides of the strait are family, to see a shared Chinese dream. If these can be achieved, I would very much like to see (the meeting) materialize."

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) believes that APEC is the best occasion for a Ma-Xi meet, MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said.

On Wednesday, Wang's deputy Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉) said that mainland China is free to interpret a Ma-Xi meet at the upcoming APEC summit in Beijing as falling under the category of "domestic affairs."

When asked if Lin had misspoken, Wang pointed out that the remark was made during an impromptu question and answer session, and that the MAC's stance is very clear.

Heads of state take part in APEC meetings as economic leaders; therefore, APEC would be ideal for a Ma-Xi meet, Wang said.

In response to reports that Zhang is aiming to visit Taiwan in the first half of this year, Wang said that there hasn't been detailed discussions, and that the date of Zhang's visit has yet to be settled.

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