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June 29, 2017

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No plan to broach topic of Ma-Xi meet: MAC during Zhang visit: Wang

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that he will not initiate a discussion on the topic of a hypothetical "Ma-Xi meeting" with Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) during Zhang's visit in Taiwan.

 However, if members of the TAO delegation were to bring the topic up, the MAC will relay the government's position, and that position has remained consistent, Wang said.

 Zhang is scheduled to arrive today for a four-day visit. Apart from meeting his Taiwanese counterpart, the TAO minister is slated to meet the mayors of New Taipei City, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

 This will be the second time that Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), of the Democratic Progressive Party, has met Zhang. She met him for the first time in Tianjin last year.

 Zhang is also scheduled to meet with scholars, students as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises across the island.

 Wang yesterday met with lawmakers of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which supports the Taiwan independence movement, to give a report on Zhang's visit.

 Wang told reporters after his meeting with the TSU caucus that his discussions with Zhang will focus on topics such as Taiwan's participation in regional economic integration and the establishment of cross-strait reciprocal representative offices.

 When asked about political agreements and joint statements with the TAO, the minister explained that none of these are a part of the agenda.

 The main purpose of Zhang's visit is to help establish periodic communications between the TAO and the MAC, as opposed to signing agreements or releasing statements, Wang said.

 When asked about President Ma Ying-jeou's remark that the upcoming APEC summit would perhaps be the most appropriate platform for cross-strait leaders to meet, Wang said that the topic has not been listed in the agenda, and that the MAC does not plan to initiate a discussion on the subject with the TAO during Zhang's visit.

 The minister further rejected media rumors that Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping (習近平) had proposed meeting Ma in Kinmen.

 In terms of security, the minister said that the administration does not want to see any accidents happening during Zhang's visit, but it will respect and protect people's rights to express their opinions.

 Security personnel will try to seek a balance between ensuring safety and respecting the rights of the people, Wang said.

 The minister also said that he respectfully asked TSU lawmakers to treat Zhang as a guest if they are to approach him to express their opinions.

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