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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 11:06 AM | 23-05-2015

Top China, Taiwan officials meet amid protests

China’s top Taiwan affairs official Zhang Zhijun met for talks with his Taiwanese counterpart on Saturday (23 May 2015), as dozens of angry demonstrators protested the visit.

Zhang, director of China’s Taiwan affairs office, met Andrew Hsia, chairman of Taiwan’s top China policy decision-making body, the Mainland Affairs Council, in Kinmen -- a Taiwan-administered island off China’s Xiamen city, according to the Agence France-Presse.

As Zhang arrived by boat, members from the anti-China opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) waved placards and shouted “Oppose Hsia-Zhang meeting! Taiwan interests betrayed!”

China’s rejection of Taiwan as a founding member of the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was expected to be raised at the meeting. Also expected on the agenda were a controversial goods trade agreement and new flight routes.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have decreased markedly since 2008 after Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang Party (KMT) came to power promising to beef up trade and tourism links.

But public sentiment in Taiwan has recently once again turned against closer ties with Beijing, with voters saying trade deals have been agreed in secret and have not benefited ordinary citizens.

In March last year, around 200 students occupied parliament for more than three weeks to demonstrate against a controversial services trade pact, while thousands rallied in support of what became known as the “Sunflower Movement”.

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