Nanfang Weekly (南方周末), February 25, 2013 —
At nine a.m. on February 25, CCP central committee secretary general Xi Jinping met KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan in the Great Hall of the People. Lien Chan had come to Beijing on February 24 as head of a delegation and is scheduled to return to Taiwan on February 27. The visit’s theme is to enter spring and revisit the past (走春访旧 – apparently a variation of 走春迎新年 – to greet the new year. Another way of putting it might be a nostalgic, yet forward-looking journey). Taiwan regional leader Ma Ying-jeou had asked Lien Chan to greet secretary general Xi Jinping.
China News Service, on February 25, quoted Xi Jinping as saying that this was the first time since he took his new office that he met with Taiwanese friends. Xi Jinping said that when he worked in Fujian for many years, he had been in contact with Taiwanese issues almost every day, frequently met Taiwanese compatriots, and made many Taiwanese friends. It had been quite the same when he worked in Zhejiang Province and in Shanghai.
Xi Jinping particularly pointed out that “I and Chairman Lien got to know each other in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, when we met in April and in November 2006, and I vividly remember the circumstances and our conversations, and one can say that with this memory on mind, I and Chairman Lien are old friends. Ever since I left Fujian, I have paid attention to the situation in T the Taiwan Strait, hoping for continuously improving cross-strait relations.”
Xi Jinping also said that the new generation of collective CCP central committee leadership will continue to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, and peaceful unification.
Quoting China News Service (中新网) and CCTV with reports of February 24, Nanfang Weekly mentions some members of Lien’s 30-plus member delegation1), such as KMT vice chairman Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正), John Chiang (蔣孝嚴), think-tank director Tsai Cheng-wen2), Radio Taiwan International CEO Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭)3) and New Party chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), plus representatives of public opinion (民意代表), business, farming and fishery, culture and education, the press, and religion.
Lien Chan said that this trip’s purpose was to enhance exchange, to exchange views with [people from] all walks of life, to look at the past and to look to the future. Lien Chan said that this was also the first time after the establishment of the new leadership by the 18th National Congress that he talked with mainland China’s leaders face to face, having the opportunity to listen to their views, thoughts and to the things they focused on. He could also exchange views with them about his understanding of the Taiwanese situation.
According to CCTV reports on February 25, Lien Chan met with KMT chairman and Taiwan regional leader Ma Ying-jeou on February 22, ahead of his trip. Local media said that Ma Ying-jeou had nothing special to say [or to account for, 交待], only that he asked Lien Chan to greet secretary general Xi Jinping. A speaker for Ma Ying-jeou’s office said that the key point of the coming three years was to broaden and deepen cross-strait exchanges, and that therefore, Lien Chan’s visit to the mainland, in his private capacity, was viewed with optimism.
Lien had declined to go into detail about his scheduled meeting with Xi before leaving Taipei on Sunday night, the South China Morning Post‘s (SCMP) Taipei correspondent wrote on Monday.
But the SCMP also quotes Su Chi (蘇起), a former Taiwan National Security Council secretary-general, as saying that the new mainland leadership is expected to touch on more sensitive issues like political dialogues with Taipei.
Lien’s delegation spokeswoman was quoted as saying that Lien would meet outgoing state chairman Hu Jintao on Tuesday (i. e. on February 26).
Lien Chan was accompanied by his wife, Lien Fang Yu, and his son, Sean Lien (连胜文).
1) According to the Taipei Times, Lien’s delegation included several business tycoons, such as Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and Ruentex Group chairman Samuel Yin (尹衍樑).
2) Tsai Cheng-wen is the National Policy Foundation’s (NPF) president. The NPF is a KMT think-tank.
3) At an earlier trip to China, with a Taiwanese delegation to the Baoao Forum on Hainan in 2012, Chang Jung-kung was scheduled to be the delegation’s spokesman.