James Soong (???), chairman of the People First Party, said on Thursday that he could meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping (???) at this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Lima, Peru, but it was too early to speculate in what form such a meeting would take place.
Soong, who will serve as President Tsai Ing-wen's (???) envoy to the APEC meeting next month, said "I could have the opportunity to meet with him (Xi) at the forum."
His words came against the background of cooling cross-strait relations since President Tsai took office on May 20.
Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party refuse to recognize the existence of the "1992 consensus" -- a tacit agreement between Taiwan and China that there is one China, with each side maintaining its own interpretation of what "one China" means -- which Beijing has said is a precondition for the continuation of cross-strait exchanges.
Despite concerns that the Chinese president might refuse to meet with any Taiwanese representative, Soong remained hopeful.
He recalled meeting with Xi in mainland China in 2004 and expressed the view that cross-strait relations should be a process of communication and persuasion, not confrontation.
Soong noted that in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Tsai spoke of not succumbing to pressure from Beijing but also not returning to the old path of confrontation.
Soong said both sides could understand and respect such a position and it might even help to find common ground in the development of peaceful cross-strait relations.
If the two sides can use the APEC forum to promote greater understanding, resolve misunderstandings and embrace reconciliation, that was a goal both could accept, Soong said.
The 74-year-old politician said he would strive to make the most of this opportunity, but that to protect the democratic values of Taiwan he would "say what has to be said" at the forum.
As president Tsai's envoy, Soong said he is aware of the need to be cautious on cross-strait issues, adding that he has much experience in similar missions at international events.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel