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China Times: The cross-strait tango

2013/09/28 16:20:07

President Ma Ying-jeou has assigned former Vice President Vincent Siew to attend this year's leaders' summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on his behalf.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Wang Yu-chi -- Taiwan's top China policy coordinator -- will also attend the meeting as an adviser to Siew, becoming the first MAC chief to be included in Taiwan's APEC delegation. Wang is likely to meet with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun, the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, during the APEC summit.

Lien Chan, another vice president, had been representing Ma at the APEC summit for five consecutive years since 2008. Given Lien's position as an honorary chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, his meetings with former Chinese President and Communist Party chief Hu Jintao were considered "party-to-party" interactions.

Siew's presence at the APEC summit will represent a breakthrough. Because he has no ranking position in the KMT, Siew's upcoming meeting with China's new leader Xi Jinping will have no party-to-party connotation.

Instead, the inclusion of Wang in Siew's delegation will help create a government-to-government atmosphere in the Siew-Xi meeting.

If Wang's first mission to APEC turns out to be successful, it will create a favorable condition for the leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to meet each other. A meeting between Ma and Xi at the 2014 APEC summit in Shanghai might be on the cards. (Editorial abstract -- Sept. 29, 2013)

(By Y.F. Low)