Sat, Nov 18, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Envoy arrives in Hanoi, may meet Japanese PM Abe


Morris Chang, right, President Chen Shui-bian's special envoy to the APEC meeting, talks with Council for Economic Planning and Development Chairman Hu Sheng-cheng in Hanoi yesterday.


Taiwan's envoy to APEC landed yesterday in Hanoi aboard an official government aircraft, while sources said he may meet with the Japanese prime minister today.

Morris Chang (張忠謀), President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) special envoy to the APEC meeting, will attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting held on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19.

Chang is slated to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today before the APEC meeting in the afternoon, sources said.

An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Chang would meet Abe today, and that Taiwan's representative to Japan, Lo Fu-chuan (羅福全) has also arrived in Hanoi.

Chang, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, was met by APEC Business Advisory Council Chairman Hoang Van Dung at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.

Hoang was accompanied by Taiwan's representative to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hanoi, Huang Nan-huei (黃南輝).

Chang said he was on a "major mission" to help kickstart stalled global WTO talks and supported a US-backed proposal for an Asia-Pacific free trade zone.

"We do rely very heavily on multilateral agreements, WTO and we do think the multilateral agreement is the best way for world economic development to continue," he said.

"We believe that multilateral agreements are to the advantage of Taiwan and that they're extremely crucial, so we highly value the resumption of the Doha talks," he said, referring to the stalled WTO negotiations.

Arguing for one simple multilateral deal, Chang said Asia's current "spaghetti bowl" of free trade agreements (FTA) was complicating business.

"We are still working very hard to get some bilateral agreements and then as a long-range goal, we do feel an FTA of the Asia Pacific is something that would be desirable for the bloc," he added.

Meanwhile, at a press conference yesterday, the Taiwanese media focused on the use of the official presidential aircraft to carry Chang.

Chang said he did not think the media needed to fuss about his transportation, noting that any aircraft carrying the president can be called "Air Force One," not just the one that he flew on.

The aircraft is a Boeing 737. Since it is a military aircraft, Tai-wan's national flag is on its tail fin.

Government Information Office (GIO) Deputy Minister William Yih (易榮宗) yesterday said Chang's use of the aircraft was due to a "tacit understanding" between Taiwan and Vietnam, and said that the GIO could not reveal the details of negotiation.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang and afp

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