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President Ma holds press conference for local and international journalists to discuss upcoming meeting between leaders of Taiwan and mainland China

President Ma Ying-jeou on the morning of November 5 held a press conference for local and foreign journalists at the Presidential Office Building to explain the background, objectives, and attributes of his upcoming meeting with mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習進平) in Singapore. The president expressed hope that this meeting will further promote the pursuit of peace and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait, advance regional peace and stability, and enhance the wellbeing of the people on both sides of the strait.
In remarks, the president first discussed how the upcoming Ma-Xi meeting came about. He stated that the idea behind a meeting between the two leaders arose back in 2013 during the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, when then Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and his counterpart, Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) of mainland China's Taiwan Affairs Office of State Council, met for the first time and addressed each other by their official titles. This paved the way for the beginning of contact between officials from both sides, he said. The president added that the possibility of a meeting between the two leaders was raised again when current MAC Minister Andrew L.Y. Hsia (夏立言) met with his counterpart, Minister Zhang, in Kinmen on May 23 of this year and again in Guangzhou on October 13. "This topic has always been on the table", the president explained. He went on to say that after much communication, a consensus was reached to have a meeting between the two leaders in a third place, Singapore, that has played a significant historical role in cross-strait relations. This meeting can thus be seen as "cross-strait relations keeping pace with the times, and the time being ripe for a Ma-Xi meeting," the president said.
Discussing the meeting objectives, President Ma said he hopes this meeting will "look back on the past while looking to the future, and consolidate peace in the Taiwan Strait while maintaining the cross-strait status quo." His administration has consistently sought, under the framework of the ROC Constitution, to maintain the status quo of "no unification, no independence, and no use of force" in the Taiwan Strait, and to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait ties under the 1992 Consensus, whereby each side acknowledges the existence of "one China" but maintains its own interpretation of what that means. Over the past seven-and-a-half years, the two sides have signed 23 agreements in a wide range of areas, creating a tremendous peace dividend, and the most peaceful and stable period in cross-strait relations since the two sides came under separate rule 66 years ago, he said. As for the future of cross-strait relations, the president stated that the two sides should look to further reduce hostility and try to stay on the correct path that has been established, while at the same time promoting broader interaction and deeper cooperation. Holding the Ma-Xi meeting at this juncture is the first step in normalizing meetings between the leaders from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and will help promote cross-strait relations.
The president went on to say that this meeting will feature three "firsts." To begin with, it will be the first meeting between the leaders from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in 66 years, a historic milestone that will help further improve cross-strait relations. Second, leaders from the two sides chose not to meet in mainland China or Taiwan, but in a third location. That is historically unprecedented, and shows that cross-strait relations are gradually maturing. And third, the leaders will not use their official titles and the formal names of the two sides. Instead, this will be the first time they will interact as the "leader of Taiwan" and the "leader of mainland China," without their original titles, addressing each other as "Mister," and thus achieving real parity and dignity. This highlights the flexibility and pragmatism with which both sides are handling cross-strait affairs, the president said, adding that this is the next step in realizing the concept of "mutual non-recognition of sovereignty, and mutual non-denial of governing authority"
President Ma stressed that for this meeting, the two sides will not sign any agreement or issue any joint statement or communique. To reduce complexity, both sides will issue separate but compatible press releases. This Ma-Xi meeting, the president said, is something that "the nation needs, the people are willing to support, and the legislature can supervise," and will pave the way for the continued pursuit of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, promote regional peace and stability, and enhance the wellbeing of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. "This has been the unvarying goal of cross-strait relations," the president said.
After completing his remarks, the president accepted questions from the media, responding to queries about the meeting process and topics, supervision by the Legislative Yuan, communication with the public, reaction by important ROC allies, and subsequent cross-strait interaction.
Also attending the press conference were Secretary-General to the President Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), National Security Council Secretary-General Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), National Security Council Senior Advisor Chiu Kun-shuan (邱坤玄), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Hsu-Tsen Hsiao (蕭旭岑), MAC Minister Andrew L.Y. Hsia, and MAC Deputy Minister Wu Mei-Hung (吳美紅).
【Source: Office of the President】