Ma, Xi unlikely to meet at APEC in future: expert
CNAWASHINGTON -- Chances are low that Beijing will allow President Ma Ying-jeou to attend the annual leaders' meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum during the remaining years of his presidential term, where he could meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, an American expert on Asian affairs said Tuesday.
August 29, 2013, 12:22 am TWN
China is concerned that Ma's attendance at APEC would set a precedent that would also apply to possible future leaders from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), according to Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“If the DPP would return to power, that might be seen by Beijing as creating 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan' in the international system,” Glaser said during a discussion on cross Taiwan Strait issues at George Washington University.
“Having a president from Taiwan going to APEC definitely will get the attention of the entire international community. I think Beijing is very reluctant to set that precedent,” she added.
Under these circumstances, it would be difficult for Ma to meet Xi in his capacity as the leader of an APEC member economy, Glaser said.
Also, she continued, it would be difficult for Ma to meet Xi in his capacity as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, because this would undermine Taiwan's dignity.
Alan Romberg, director of the East Asia program at the Stimson Center, a U.S. think tank, said Ma is interested in promoting the sense of Taiwan's international participation, not in such a way that it challenges Beijing's sovereignty question, by proposing to attend the APEC meeting as the head of the economy but not in a presidential capacity.
It remains to be seen how things will unfold in the future, he said.
Due to China's opposition, Taiwan's top leader is barred from attending APEC leaders' meetings and has to send a proxy to attend the annual meeting on his behalf.
Ma said recently that he will work toward the goal of attending the event in person, although he admitted that the conditions for him to do so are still not ripe, with Beijing still the main obstacle.