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June 29, 2017

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DPP chief has no plans to meet with TAO head

TAIPEI--The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Friday that it has no plans for a meeting between its leader and China's Taiwan affairs minister, even as the island's largest opposition party said it is open to communication with Beijing.

No contact or arrangement is currently being made for DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to meet with Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO, 國台辦), according to Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), director of the DPP's China Affairs Department.

Zhang is scheduled to arrive for his first visit to Taiwan during the week of June 23, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC, 陸委會), the TAO's Taiwanese counterpart, announced Thursday.

Chao made the comments after an offer by the Cabinet-level MAC to help contact the Chinese side if the DPP wants to have a meeting with Zhang.

Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), whip of the DPP's legislative caucus, said his party will always leave the door open for communication with China, provided there are no preconditions or "predetermined positions."

However, he said it is "unwise" for Zhang to choose to visit Taiwan at a time when the Legislative Yuan is set to hold a special session, during which legislation regarding the oversight of cross-Taiwan Strait agreements might be discussed.

He also demanded that Zhang apologize for a controversial statement made two days ago by TAO spokeswoman Fan Liqing that the future of Taiwan "must be decided by all Chinese people, including Taiwanese compatriots."

The statement shows no respect for Taiwan, has hurt the friendship between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and is unhelpful to the building of mutual trust, he argued.

During his visit, Zhang will attend meetings with MAC officials and hopes to travel to New Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung cities, according to Wang Yu-chi, chief of the Mainland Affairs Council.

The MAC is happy to help make the related arrangements because it is good to allow Zhang to have more contact with local people and understand their thoughts, Wang said.

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