APEC is best fit for Ma-Xi meeting: MAC chief
Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's top China policymaker Wang Yu-chi said Wednesday that he still believes this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit will be the best time for Taiwan's president to meet his Chinese counterpart, but Wang will not actively bring up the issue during an upcoming visit to China.
Wang, minister of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), told reporters that he does not plan to broach the possibility of a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese President Xi Jinping during his Feb. 11-14 visit.
Wang's trip will mark the first time a sitting MAC head has visited China, where he is set to meet with his counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, the minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office. Many media outlets here speculate that the visit is a precursor to an unprecedented meeting between the two top leaders of either side.
If Chinese representatives initiate discussion of a Ma-Xi meeting during Wang's trip, the MAC will express its standing opinion that the APEC summit will be the best occasion for such a meeting, the minister said.
APEC participants are identified simply as "leader," which the MAC believes makes it a fitting forum for the "leaders" of Taiwan and China to interact with each other on an equal and reciprocal basis.
Taiwan's government remains optimistic about the possibility of a meeting between Ma and Xi if it occurs at the right time and the right occasion and under the "right" titles, Wang said.
As for his own goals during the trip, Wang said he aims to promote "the normalization of exchanges between officials from the two sides," and he intends to discuss the establishment of a direct communication mechanism between the MAC and its Chinese counterpart.
Wang said he will also exchange views with Zhang on the state of cross-strait relations and the notion of joint participation in regional economic integration.
The Wang-Zhang meeting, set for Nanjing, will be the first meeting between the two officials since they met briefly at last year's APEC summit in Bali, Indonesia. In that historic first, the two greeted each other by their respective titles of "minister."
Wang's delegation to China will consist of more than 20 MAC officials. The MAC chief will return to Taiwan Feb. 14 and report on his visit separately to reporters and to lawmakers.
(By Scarlett Chai and Jeffrey Wu) ENDITEM/WH
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