Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou will be represented by a former vice president at the upcoming APEC summit in Beijing, dashing hopes of an unprecedented meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
The prospect of such a meeting emerged in February before a historic trip to Nanjing by Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi, the first official contact between Taipei and Beijing in more than 60 years.
On Wednesday, Taipei said it will send Vincent Siew to join regional leaders at the November summit and promote Taiwan’s accession bid to other trade blocs, AFP reported Thursday.
Siew has attended the APEC forum five times as Ma’s special envoy and also while he was economic affairs minister.
Taiwanese officials, including Ma himself, had raised the prospect of a presidential meeting on the sidelines of APEC even though China gave it the cold shoulder.
Beijing fears a public meeting of leaders from Taipei and China at an international forum would reinforce the idea of “two Chinas”, an unacceptable scenario for the mainland.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the island has ruled itself since splitting from the mainland in 1949 at the end of a civil war.
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