A Tsai-Xi Meeting? Debates Rise Among Uncertainty of Cross-strait Relations

A Tsai-Xi Meeting? Debates Rise Among Uncertainty of Cross-strait Relations
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像;Edited Image: The News Lens關鍵評論網

What you need to know

After the Ma-Xi meeting last year, president-elect Tsai Ing-wen has not ruled out the possibility of meeting with China’s president Xi Jinping. On March 23, both Tsai and Xi received invitations from Panama to attend their completing ceremony of the Panama Canal. Discussions have been raised about whether the leaders of both countries will meet.

Translated and compiled by Shin-wei Chang

Last November, the Ma-Xi meeting marked the first time the political leaders of Taiwan and China met in 66 years. With the foundation of the 1992 Consensus, when asked whether to follow the example in the future, Tsai Ing-wen, still a presidential candidate then, responded, “It’s not impossible.”

However, Tsai emphasized that meetings should be held under three grounds: transparency of information, mutual respect and no involvement in politics.

On March 24, now president-elect Tsai was invited to participate in the completion ceremony of Panama Canal, while Xi Jinping, president of China, was also invited. As a result, it has raised wide discussions about whether there will be a “Tsai-Xi Meeting.”

There is still a period of time before Tsai takes office on May 20, thus whether both sides will meet is still under observation.

Most of the legislators regard the Tsai-Xi meeting as a good thing and look forward to it.

KMT legislator Lin Te-fu says Taiwan’s diplomatic situation is difficult. If there is a chance for Taiwan to interact with the international community, it would benefit the island’s diplomatic situation. Wu Chih-yang, another KMT legislator, also says Tsai should attend the ceremony no matter what attitude China bears.

Pessimistic views towards the possible meeting

KMT legislator Chiang Chi-chen says the key to whether Tsai and Xi would meet is Tsai’s inauguration speech on May 20. With an uncertain attitude towards cross-strait relations, Tsai cannot establish a stable direction for both sides. As a result, there is a limited chance for them to meet.

Chang Wu-yue, chairman of the China Studies at Tamkang University, believes the meeting will only take place if three conditions are fulfilled. First, the highest leaders of both sides need to show up. Next, the meeting has to be defined as “either a conversation, meeting or simply greeting.” Last, there should be a friendly atmosphere and mutual trust between both sides.

Edited by Kelly Lai and Olivia Yang

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