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May 29, 2017

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Ma not reserved on cross-strait issues: Xi

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou seemed no longer conservative and reserved regarding cross-strait relations, said Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) during a forum between the Kuomintang (KMT) and Chinese Communist Party (CPP) in Beijing yesterday.

KMT Honorary Chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) relayed Xi's acknowledgement that Ma is not at a standstill in terms of handling cross-strait issues, adding that Xi said he "understands Ma better now."

Annual forums between both parties have been held since the KMT came into power in 2008. The 2013 forum will be Xi's first as General Secretary of the CCP.

Xi met Wu the sixth KMT-CCP forum that lasted almost two hours at 3:30 p.m., and gave the first speech explaining China's future plans on maintaining cross-strait ties with Taiwan.

Beijing will continue its current interaction policies with Taiwan and will look to solidify cross-strait relations, said Xi.

After greeting Xi, Wu pointed out that both sides of the strait should stay consistent to the political trust and interacting foundation in light of the so-called "1992 consensus," adding that the strengthening of the economic ties should also be a priority.

Wu broached the sensitive topic of broadening Taiwan's scope of activeness globally to Xi, saying that "Taiwan is not divided by political parties or ethnicity. All 23 million residents wish for Taiwan to participate in international activities," and China should take Taiwan's wishes into account, Wu noted.

Taiwan's active participation in international affairs would be a boost for development for cross-strait relations, said Wu, as "both sides are inseparable."

Cross-strait Relations Not Nation to Nation: Wu

Wu expressed his wish for Taiwan and China to establish representative offices as a means to bolster the interaction between both sides.

"Cross-strait relations are not nation-to-nation based; these are special relations," Wu said.

Wu cited the example of cross-strait direct flights as essential factors in securing the "special relationship" between Taiwan and China, hoping to use the relationship as a foundation for establishing representative offices.

In response to statements by Xi indicating his desire to broaden the scale of future discussions, Wu said: "Taiwan has sensitive topics of its own that need solving first. Direct (cross-strait) negotiations will not be possible before securing the support of the Taiwanese people."

Wu Calls for Joint Brainstorming

The Three Links (三通直航) that inaugurated direct shipping, direct flights and direct mail between Taiwan and China was not categorized under "international flights" or "domestic flights," stated Wu. The debate over the categorization was solved by labeling the flights "cross-strait flights" — a result which came to be after both sides put their heads together.

Wu said he hoped this solution would be useful if the establishment of representative offices meets possible difficulties.

"The establishment of the offices will be another historic milestone in the history of cross-strait relations," Wu said.

Wu's entourage at the forum included the KMT Vice Chairwoman and Legislative Yuan deputy chief Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), KMT Vice Chairwoman Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠), former National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Su Chi (蘇起) and former KMT Vice Chairman Chan Chun-po (詹春柏).

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