Wed, Aug 23, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Chinese official's visit in doubt

FRUIT ISSUE The government said China had to solve the problem of counterfeit Taiwanese fruit before it would let a Chinese official have a visa to take part in a KMT forum

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

China's top Taiwan policy maker formally applied this week for a visa, but the government has raised the bar for approving his visit, saying China must first discuss ways to stop fake "made in Taiwan" labels from being used on Chinese fruit and tea, an official said yesterday.

Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), director of the Chinese government's Taiwan Affairs Office, applied for a visa on Monday via the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which wants Chen and 65 other Chinese to attend an agricultural summit in October, said Corinna Wei, a spokeswoman for the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

On Monday, the organizer of the forum, the National Policy Foundation, a think tank affiliated with the KMT, submitted application forms for 66 Chinese visitors to the Bureau of Immigration.

Wei said that before Chen could be allowed to visit, China should first discuss "harm" caused to Taiwan farmers by what Wei said were fake Taiwan labels placed on tea and subtropical fruits grown and sold in China.

"If such a high-level official is going to come, we need to talk first," Wei said. "They need to show respect."

The MAC yesterday referred to a press release that it issued on Monday, saying that it had commissioned the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to cope with matters related to Chen's visit.

The council called on China to negotiate with Taiwan on a government-to-government basis, rather than sending officials unofficially to an obscure forum if China really cared about the interests of Taiwan's farmers.

The SEF's press coordinator Liang Yu-chen (梁玉珍) yesterday said that foundation had sent a letter to China's Taiwan Affairs Office on Monday to request China to dispatch officials to negotiate this issue with the SEF, and so far it had not heard from the Chinese authorities.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Solidarity Union said yesterday that a senior Chinese official should not be allowed to come to Taiwan.

TSU Legislator Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) said that the KMT was ignoring China's oppression of Taiwan and insisted on inviting Chen to visit Taiwan, thereby disgracing all the people of Taiwan.

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