Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 11 News List

APEC official tight-lipped about Taiwanese delegate

A MATTER MOST SENSITIVE An APEC executive director dodged questions about whom the regional body plans to invite to represent Taiwan as observer

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Juan Carlos Capunay, executive-director of the APEC forum, yesterday steered clear of the sensitive issue of whom Taiwan would send to the APEC informal summit of economic leaders to be held in Lima, Peru, next month.

“I don’t know anything about that [the candidate],” Capunay said when asked about the purpose of his visit. “There is a task force in Lima responsible for the arrangement.”

Capunay yesterday attended the opening session of the five-day APEC Digital Opportunity Center 2.0 (ADOC 2.0) International Conference, during which he talked about the achievements made in ADOC phase one and the prospects of ADOC 2.0.

This was Capunay’s second visit to the country since the end of July.

Local media reported at the time that Capunay delivered an invitation in person to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to participate in the 16th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting that will be held in Lima on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23.

However, Capunay would not comment on any question relating to the highly sensitive political issue of Taiwan’s delegate to the summit, insisting that both his visits to the country were to attend seminars.

Under a special arrangement made for Taiwan to participate in APEC, the country’s president has to designate a special envoy to the summit on his behalf.

Since the first APEC informal summit in 1993, Taiwan has tried to send officials at the highest possible level to the meeting, but its efforts have been blocked by objections from China.

Taiwan has instead sent Nobel Laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) and well-known entrepreneurs, among others, to represent it at the summits.

The government’s choice of envoy to the APEC summit this year will be an indicator of the status of cross-strait ties, as Taiwan to date has not succeeded in sending a top-level representative to the meeting.

The choice will also test China’s reaction to Ma’s new diplomatic strategy of a “modus vivendi” and of seeking a “diplomatic truce” with China aimed at ending the longstanding diplomatic tug-of-war between the two countries.

Asked to comment on current cross-strait relations, Capunay said: “Things are doing very well but I cannot make any opinion from my position.”

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