Ma seeks meet with Xi at APEC Beijing summit
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo ,The China Post
December 26, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said recently that he would like to meet Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping at the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing.
Ma made the comments during an interview with Yazhou Zhoukan, a Hong Kong-based newsweekly.
The president explained that the annual APEC meeting is attended by “economic leaders,” and that considering the context, there would be less pressure for both sides of the Taiwan Strait if he were to take part.
Compared to former CCP General-Secretary Hu Jintao, Xi seems relatively more eager with regard to political negotiations, Ma said.
However, if the two sides of the Strait were to negotiate or sign a peace agreement, the government of the R.O.C. would need the nation's authorization via a referendum, the president explained.
This is the first time that Ma has openly expressed a wish to attend the APEC meeting in specific terms.
The mainland China-based Taiwan Affairs Office, on the other hand, previously said that a cross-strait leaders meeting “need not” take place on the “platform” of an “international meeting,” leading commentators to believe that Beijing may have already excluded the possibility.
Ma explained that the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting allows for a great deal of flexibility, because it is not just a meeting between the representatives of Taiwan and mainland China, and that he would like to attend the event regardless of where it is held.
The president said that if he were to meet the leader of mainland China under any other context, he would have to meet him as “president of the R.O.C.” as opposed to “chairman of the ruling Kuomintang.”
Ma added that in order to sign a peace treaty, the government would need to secure the nation's authorization through a referendum.
The president explained that under these circumstances, it would be almost impossible for him to meet Xi at any other event.
“The 1992 Consensus is the most important foundation for the development of cross-strait relations; this has not changed (since the consensus was reached),” Ma said, explaining that the consensus allows both sides of the strait to verbally express their respective interpretations of the one China principle.
When Taiwan became a member of APEC, the sensitive nature of cross-strait relations was taken into account; therefore, the participants of the meeting are not called “presidents” or “heads of states,” they are called “economic leaders,” Ma explained.
The president stressed that his administration has not excluded the possibility of a meeting between himself and Xi, but that there has to be a “national need” and “public support.”
The Republic of China is a democratic nation, Ma said, adding that the government cannot push for policies that run counter to the wishes of the nation's majority.