“He said, Xi said”: the press conferences after the Xi-Ma meeting

Photo by the Office of the President of Taiwan

Photo by the Office of the President of Taiwan

by Jerome Cohen

The much-anticipated meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou took place today. Here are the statements from Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou and the subsequent remarks of Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s political opposition party’s leader and presidential candidate.

We will see more analysis by political commentators, especially those on Taiwan from the opposing KMT and the DPP camps. But one thing we can all agree upon is that the press conference of Zhang Zhijun, the head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, gave the world a new example of “He said, Xi said.”

Seriously, I think Ma’s decision to do his own press conference rather than leave it to the very able Andrew Hsia, the head of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Office, which would have comported with Taiwan’s other efforts to demonstrate equality with the PRC, was a wise one, demonstrating how democratic leaders expose their conduct to the public. Xi’s consistent reluctance to face questions and the pathetic three questions staged for Zhang, together with the shielding of the Chinese people from Ma’s initial speech and then his press conference, undoubtedly left a vivid impression on many Chinese.