No ‘highly political’ talks on Taiwan meet agenda

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-25 0:43:01

The Chinese mainland's chief of Taiwan affairs Zhang Zhijun is set to embark on his first visit to Taiwan on Wednesday, a move that has been welcomed by Taiwanese people as well as politicians, although the Taiwan authorities have indicated that no document will be signed during his trip.

Zhang is scheduled to meet his Taiwan counterpart Wang Yu-chi later Wednesday, the second formal meeting between these two after Wang's visit to the mainland in February.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said on Monday that the Zhang-Wang meeting will be an occasion to discuss important cross-Straits topics in a pragmatic manner. The council said highly political topics will not be discussed and no document or joint statement will be signed.

The council also stressed that the normalization of interaction between authorities across the Straits will promote the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and is in accordance with the interests of the Taiwan public, according to the Taipei-based China Times.

Zhang will also meet Chu Li-luan and Hu Chih-chiang, vice-chairmen of the Kuomintang party, as well as Chen Chu, acting chair of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Kaohsiung mayor.

Chen said on Tuesday that the fact her meeting with Zhang is only 30 minutes long will keep them from engaging in detailed discussions.

Zhang will not meet DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen despite an earlier statement from Tsai indicating her warm welcome and her intention to meet, a drastic change of attitude considering Tsai's leading role in a rather violent protest against a 2008 visit from Chen Yunlin, then chairman of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.

"It's unlikely that the protest in 2008 will be repeated as the DPP has obviously taken a more pragmatic attitude toward Zhang's visit this time," said Wang Jianmin, a cross-Straits scholar from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Other analysts say Tsai's move is an effort to change the DPP's image as a party that goes against everything the Chinese mainland proposes.

"It is still unknown whether the change is for real or a strategy to cope with the coming election season," said Zhu Weidong, another scholar from CASS. "Judging from the current situation, it is very likely that Tsai will run for 'Taiwan president' as candidate from the DPP. We are still observing whether Tsai really intends to push to transform her party."

Posted in: HK/Macao/Taiwan

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