Date
24 March 2017
Police officers drag an activist during protests in Taipei Wednesday against a planned Singapore meeting between Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Photo: Reuters
Police officers drag an activist during protests in Taipei Wednesday against a planned Singapore meeting between Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Photo: Reuters

Protests in Taipei over upcoming Ma-Xi meeting

Some Taiwanese groups have voiced their opposition to a planned meeting in Singapore this Saturday between Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Anti-China groups and supporters of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Taiwan’s largest opposition party, gathered in front of Taiwan’s parliament building on Wednesday to express their anger over the upcoming Ma-Xi meeting.

The opposition groups alleged that the event, which will be the first-ever meeting between leaders of the two sides, has come through an underhand arrangement, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Some young supporters of Taiwan Solidarity Union, a political organization that advocates Taiwan independence, threw smoke grenades at Ma’s office amid the protests.

The police have arrested five people following the incidents Wednesday.

Tsai Ing-wen, DPP candidate for Taiwan’s 2016 presidential election, has lashed out at the Ma administration, saying the Xi meeting arrangement could be an attempt to influence the January elections on the island.

Claiming that the Ma-Xi meeting news took her by surprise, Tsai accused the Ma regime of being opaque in its decision-making.

As Ma’s term as president will soon be ending, he has no right to promise something that he cannot be responsible for, Tsai said, adding that Ma may be just trying to gain some political mileage.

Kuomintang, Taiwan’s ruling party, has stressed that the Ma-Xi meeting is merely aimed at fortifying cross-strait relations and that no electoral considerations were behind the decision.

A spokesman for Ma’s office said efforts to arrange a high-level meeting had been going on for two years and that there was no abrupt decision, as alleged by Tsai.

Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council, said on Wednesday that the agreed meeting, the first of its kind since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949, shows willingness of both sides to put aside differences and respect each other.

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TL/AC/RC

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