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Next Chinese leader familiar with Taiwan affairs: NSB chief

2010/10/20 21:18:12

Taipei, Oct. 20 (CNA) The man in line to be China's next leaderwas no stranger to Taiwan affairs, but he was not expected tocompromise on any sovereignty- and territory-related issues, Taiwan'sNational Security Bureau Director Tsai Teh-sheng said Wednesday.

"Xi Jinping, China's vice president who is widely believed to bethe anointed successor to Chinese President Hu Jintao, is known to beversed in Taiwan affairs as he had extensive contact with Taiwanesebusinessmen during his years as communist party boss in Shanghai andthe eastern provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, all of which have largeclusters of Taiwan-owned companies," Tsai said at a legislativesession.

Nevertheless, Tsai said Xi's rich knowledge about Taiwan would notnecessarily make him a "Taiwan-friendly" leader after he took power.

For one thing, Tsai reminded members of the Legislative Yuan'sForeign and Defense Committee present at the session that Xicould not solely formulate China's future policy toward Taiwan.

"China now adopts a collective leadership system instead of aone-man rule as seen in the Deng Xiaoing era," Tsai said. "Therefore,China's future Taiwan policy will not be dictated by any singlefigure but will reflect the collective views and wills of a number ofChinese leaders."

In the past, Tsai continued, Chinese officials were branded as"dove faction" and "hawk faction" in terms of their stances towardTaiwan.

"Such a characterization is meaningless. As far as the sensitivesovereignty and territorial issues are concerned, all Chinese leadersare hard-liners and nationalists," he said.

Tsai also recalled that during a previous visit to a Hispaniccountry, Xi publicly criticized some foreign pundits critical ofChina's human rights policy as meddling in its domestic affairs.

Meanwhile, Tsai confirmed for the first time that a brother ofXi's wife Peng Liyuan is living in Chiayi in southern Taiwan.

Peng, a major general with the People's Liberation Army's GeneralPolitical Department, is very well-known in China as a folk singer.According to Tsai, she made an eight-day visit to Taiwan in 1997 forthe purpose of cultural exchanges.

On China's leadership transition, Tsai said Xi's succession to Huhas been on track since he became vice president in 2008. His recentappointment as vice chairman of the Central Military Commission --China's top military body -- would allow him to consolidate hisinfluence over the military and enhance his political stature, Tsaisaid.

Without a transparent electoral process, Tsai said, the CommunistParty of China could utilize Xi's new appointment to the powerfulmilitary committee to show that its leadership transition is goingahead smoothly as Hu is expected to step down as party chief in 2012and as president the following year.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Sofia wu)