China's Xi says political solution for Taiwan can't wait forever

NUSA DUA, Indonesia Sun Oct 6, 2013 5:31am EDT

China's President Xi Jinping inspects an honour guard during the state welcoming ceremony at the Parliament house in Kuala Lumpur October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Samsul Said

China's President Xi Jinping inspects an honour guard during the state welcoming ceremony at the Parliament house in Kuala Lumpur October 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Samsul Said

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NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping told a senior envoy from self-ruled Taiwan on Sunday that a political solution to a standoff over sovereignty lasting more than six decades cannot be postponed forever, drawing a cool, non-committal response.

China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since Nationalist forces, defeated by the Communists, fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has never ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control.

While relations have improved dramatically since the China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou was elected Taiwan president in 2008, with a series of trade and tourism deals signed, there has been no progress towards political reconciliation or a lessening of military distrust.

Speaking on the Indonesian resort island of Bali ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Xi told Ma's envoy to the meeting, Vincent Siew, that political issues could not be put off forever.

"Increasing mutual political trust across the Taiwan Straits and jointly building up political foundations are crucial for ensuring the peaceful development of relations," the official Xinhua news agency paraphrased Xi as saying.

"Looking further ahead, the issue of political disagreements that exist between the two sides must reach a final resolution, step by step, and these issues cannot be passed on from generation to generation," Xi added.

"I have already said many times that (we are) willing to have equal consultations with Taiwan on cross-strait issues within the framework of the one-China (principle), and make reasonable and fair arrangements for this."

Beijing and Taipei agreed to their own interpretations of the "one China" principle, which includes Taiwan as part of China, in 1992.

However, Ma has signaled no urgency to have political talks with China, saying the time is not yet right, a view backed by Siew who said things had to move slowly.

"Both sides need greater understanding," Siew told reporters, adding he and Xi did not discuss the possibility of a Xi-Ma meeting. "If we can find a consensus, then we can slowly find a reasonable, rational plan to resolve things."

Despite China and Taiwan's close business and economic ties, U.S.-armed and backed Taiwan remains a potentially dangerous military flashpoint and a key priority for the ruling Communist Party, which is investing billions in defense modernization.

(Reporting by James Pomfret; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Comments (10)
SeniorMoment wrote:
The US will back Taiwan to the hilt if China attempts to invade the island. Taiwan was not part of China and was originally settled about 3,000 BC by aboriginal people who are the only ones who have true ownership of the island as first settlers.

China has made past land grabs in its history and indeed fear of China doing so again is the foundation for peace today between Vietnam and the USA. Seeking dominion over Taiwan is exactly like what China is doing with land and ocean floor disputes with its other neighbors in Asia.

The delay of the President’s trip doesn’t signal any reduction In its swing toward Asia’s defense, but was more than anything else a political necessity because so many federal workers were shut out from their jobs by the deadlock in Congress. I think too the President was sensitive to the appearance of spending so much money on a trip while the rest of the federal government is on autopilot and paid in IOU’s.

Oct 06, 2013 6:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
derdutchman wrote:
How many mai tais will that take? Or maybe a winter home in Bejing for Ma Ying-jeou and Yunlin County beachfront in the summer for Xi? The point? They are dreaming.

Oct 06, 2013 7:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Neurochuck wrote:
In olden times China had loose hegemony over various neighbor nations which respected Chinas core interests, and did a lot of trade and made riches, and paid at least symbolic tribute to the Middle Kingdom.
The status quo with Taiwan seems similar if they can smooth divisive issues.

Oct 06, 2013 9:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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