18 December 2018
James Soong, chairman of Taiwan's People First Party, meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua
James Soong, chairman of Taiwan's People First Party, meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Xi, Taiwan’s Soong exchange views on cross-strait realities

Chinese President Xi Jinping met James Soong Chu-yu, chairman of Taiwan’s People First Party, for the first time on Wednesday in Beijing, exchanging views on various issues pertaining to cross-strait relations.

Xi and Soong both agreed that more communication is necessary between the two sides, Apple Daily reported Thursday. However, they did not directly discuss the service trade agreement that is currently stuck in Taiwan’s legislature.  

Xi said during the talks that economic integration is good and that it will be a win-win for both sides. Beijing will strengthen its efforts to communicate with all levels of Taiwan society and try to make Taiwanese people understand the benefit of cross-strait economic exchanges, he said.

Issues and concerns on cross-strait relations are unavoidable, but there is nothing that cannot be overcome as long as both sides treat each other with integrity and each side looks at the other’s viewpoint, Xi was quoted as saying.

Soong said the recent student protest in Taiwan, dubbed Sunflower Movement, signified civil quality and success of Taiwan’s civil education. Most people joining the protest are not against China or free trade but only against Taiwan government’s “black-box” decision-making, he said.

He called for establishment of communication channels between both sides, not centering on just one party or one person.

Xi acknowledged that the future of cross-strait relations hinge on young people, who he feels should have more exchanges.

Soong said he hopes China will show understanding toward the so-called “Taiwan consciousness”, referring to differences in political and social systems, and Taiwan people’s aspiration for economic independence amid a multi-faceted society.

Meanwhile, Xi stressed that the policy of peaceful development of cross-strait relations will not change. But he also emphasized China’s unwavering determination to prevent any declaration of independence by Taiwan, according to the report.

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