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September 20, 2017

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No meeting for Tsai and Zhang planned: MAC

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC, 陸委會) yesterday stated that a meeting between Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO, 國台辦) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has not been planned.

As Zhang is slated to visit for a few days from June 23, many have been speculating on whether the chairman will meet with prominent members of Taiwan's main opposition party. Should Tsai wish for a meeting, the MAC is willing contact Zhang on the chairwoman's behalf, but currently there is no Tsai-Zhang meet slated, said a MAC official.

MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) stated last week that the TAO delegation will meet with the council to discuss the development of cross-strait ties, economic cooperation, regional economic integration and progress on establishing reciprocal representative offices.

The TAO delegation would like to visit the cities of New Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung and meet with the heads of those local governments, Wang added.

The MAC held a press conference yesterday, announcing that Zhang is set to visit Taiwan from June 25 until June 28, and the second meeting between Wang and his counterpart will be held in Taoyuan on June 25. Another meeting is slated to be held over tea in Kaohsiung on June 27.

Zhang's visits are helpful as they allow the TAO minister to see with his own eyes the diversity under Taiwan's democratic government and they also provide him with a correct understanding of Taiwan's stance on cross-strait relations, said a MAC official. Public opinion, as long as it is expressed rationally, will be respected, the official added.

The MAC has relayed to China its hopes of having Zhang's itinerary made as simple as possible and for his entourage to take the opinions of Taiwanese people into consideration and avoid unnecessary political activities, the MAC added.

Zhang will be meeting New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) — the only opposition leader — during his visit.

No News of a Meeting: DPP

The DPP has stated earlier last week that it has not received any notifications of an arrangement for its chairwoman to meet the TAO minister.

The party also noted its positive attitude toward normal interaction between Taiwan and China, but only under the condition that Taiwan's advantages are not ignored in the process.

Several student activist groups have also called for a meeting with Zhang, which the MAC has relayed to TAO. The TAO has allegedly confirmed having received the news, but they did not make further comments.

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