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Commercial Times: Expectations for Lien-Hu meeting at APEC

2012/08/04 20:23:59

President Ma Ying-jeou has invited former Vice President Lien Chan to attend the 20th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit scheduled to open in the Russian city of Vladivostok Sept. 8 as his proxy.

As the event will be a valuable opportunity for Taiwan to make its voice heard in the international community amid efforts to seek participation in international economic cooperation networks, we hope Lien will help the cause during his appearance at the Vladivostok meeting.

Joining international economic cooperation programs is an important tactic to promote Taiwan's economic development. With that in mind, Ma announced recently that Taiwan plans to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further liberalize the economies of the Asia-Pacific region, in eight years.

However, Taiwan's moves to seek access to international economic cooperation partnerships have been held up by Beijing's opposition, which regards Taiwan as part of China. Now that Chinese scholars have defined the U.S.-initiated TPP as "a U.S. tool to fight China by integrating Pacific nations," Taiwan is expected to have a rough ride in its bid to join the partnership because of China.

Although Taiwan does not need China's "official consent" to its bids to join international economic cooperation partnerships, looking at the reality of cross-Taiwan Strait relations, we believe it is better to "communicate and negotiate" with China on such issues to avoid its infereance.

And the APEC summit is the best occasion for cross-strait communications.

Based on this premise, we suggest that Lien travel to Russia with a complete set of ideas about Taiwan's participation in international economic cooperation that he can put to Chinese President Hu Jintao at the two-day APEC event.

In this way we can make China understand that Taiwan's efforts to promote international economic cooperation are formed based on creating greater common welfare between Taiwan and China.

Moreover, we also see the planned Lien-Hu meeting as a brilliant opportunity for the two sides to make a conclusion to the development of cross-strait relations over the past years and think of how to start a new page in the future following the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in which a political leadership change is expected.

If Lien and Hu can reach consensus or any agreement on cross-strait links during their APEC talks, we believe that it will likely affect the formation of the CPC's cross-strait policy in the national congress and help the stable development of future cross-strait relations. (Editorial abstract - Aug. 4, 2012)

(By Elizabeth Hsu)