China crosses off APEC as venue for cross-strait meeting


BEIJING — Chances are slim that the leaders of Taiwan and China will meet on the sidelines at a future Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum after a Chinese official said Wednesday that such a meeting need not take place at international events. Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under China’s State Council, made the statement at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

She was asked about her views on commentaries in Taiwanese media suggesting that the 2014 APEC leaders’ week to be held in Beijing would be a good setting for a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

“Since a meeting between the top leaders on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is a matter for Chinese people themselves to tackle, it does not need to take place on an international occasion,” Fan said. She claimed that China has for years advocated a meeting between the leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and adopted an active and open attitude toward any proposal that can contribute to peaceful development in cross-strait relations. As for Taiwan’s participation in the annual APEC leaders’ meeting, Fan said the issue should be handled in accordance with relevant APEC protocols or regulations.

Because of China’s objection, Taiwan’s president has been barred from attending the APEC leaders’ summit in person and has had to name a proxy to attend the meeting on his behalf each year.