Back to list

Taiwan, Chinese ministers meet in groundbreaking first

2013/10/06 16:29:44

Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 6 (CNA) Cross-strait relations scored a new breakthrough Sunday when Taiwan's and China's chief officials addressed each other by their official titles in an unprecedented meeting that took place on the sidelines of an international forum.

Wang Yu-chi, minister of Taiwan's Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), and Zhang Zhijun, minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) under China's State Council, spoke briefly at the lobby of Hotel Laguna in Bali, Indonesia, where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is ongoing.

In the groundbreaking meeting, both Wang and Zhang called for the establishment of a regular dialogue mechanism between their two agencies to enhance mutual understanding and facilitate cross-strait engagement.

Zhang invited Wang to visit China, adding that he would be more than pleased to make a visit to Taiwan "if given a chance."

"As those responsible for cross-strait relations, we should increase interaction to boost mutual understanding and promote bilateral ties," Zhang said, noting that some 8 million people traveled between Taiwan and China last year alone.

When people on both sides of the strait are visiting each other so frequently, "it does not seems right" if the two top officials in charge of cross-strait affairs do not see each other, Zhang said.

"It would be fruitful for us to keep up with that popular trend," he added.

Wang echoed the sentiment, noting that Taiwanese lawmakers' delays in approving a cross-strait service trade pact indicates there are many outstanding bilateral issues that need to be addressed.

"This fact highlights the need for both sides to enhance interaction," Wang said.

Zhang responded by promoting the benefits of that trade pact and expressing expectations that it will be passed soon.

The historic dialogue took place after a closed-door meeting between Vincent Siew, Taiwan's envoy to the APEC leaders' meeting, and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Siew is attending the Oct. 7-8 APEC summit on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Because of China's objections, Taiwan's president has been barred from attending the annual APEC summit in person and has had to appoint a proxy each year.

(By Jay Chou and Sofia Wu)
enditem/WH