Taiwan’s pick for Apec summit voices hope of meeting Xi Jinping in Peru

Opposition figure James Soong says he would convey the wish of the island’s population for peace with the mainland

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 October, 2016, 11:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 October, 2016, 12:15pm

Taiwan’s pick to attend next month’s Apec summit said on Thursday that he hoped to meet President Xi Jinping at the gathering in Peru.

James Soong Chu-yu, chairman of the opposition People First Party and a supporter of the “one China” principle, was chosen by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to represent the island at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum’s meeting in Lima.

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Taiwan’s head of government does not attend the summit due to opposition from Beijing and instead sends senior economic officials as proxies. By custom, Beijing has the final say over the selection.

But Soong appeared confident he would be permitted to attend, saying he “has the opportunity” to meet Xi at the November 19-20 talks.

If [mainland] China still finds me unacceptable, is there any hope for the future development of cross-strait relations?
James Soong, Taiwan’s envoy pick

Soong said he wanted to convey the Taiwanese people’s collective will to jointly create peace and prosperity with their mainland counterparts and the international community.

He stressed that cross-strait relations were a process of communication and persuasion. Both sides must sit down and work out a practical policy they found acceptable.

Beijing has refused to engage the Tsai administration, saying she must first acknowledge the “1992 consensus”. The consensus holds that both sides agree there is only “one China” but that each has its own interpretation of what that means.

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“If [mainland] China still finds me unacceptable, is there any hope for the future development of cross-strait relations?” Soong said.

An Fengshan, a spokesman for the mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said the “1992 consensus” was unshakeable.

Additional reporting by Staff Reporter