Sun, Nov 19, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Chang has cordial exchange with Hu


Spouses of representatives attending APEC, from left, Japan's Akie Abe, Taiwan's Sophie Chang and the US' Laura Bush, yesterday take part in a tour of the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam.


At the APEC summit meeting yesterday, international leaders expressed support for the resumption of the Doha Development Agenda and stressed the importance of setting up measures to facilitate the negotiation of bilateral and regional free trade agreements.

They also unanimously agreed that the Free-Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) initiative should be advanced. The initiative was originally not supported by several member economies.

Taiwan's APEC envoy Morris Chang (張忠謀) briefed Taiwanese reporters yesterday at a press conference after the meeting concluded.

Chang sat between Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Thai Prime Minister Surayut Chulano during the meeting held in Hanoi.

Chang discussed his exchanges with US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). He said Bush was friendly and greeted him saying that "I know who you are" while patting him on the shoulder.

When yesterday's summit finished, Bush walked Chang out of the conference room while the two had short talks, Chang said.

Chang also had an exchange with Hu while other leaders were waiting to leave the conference room.

Chang said Hu was friendly and courteous, but stressed that it was impossible to talk about serious topics with Hu or Bush in such short time periods.

Chang declined to answer questions on whether President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had asked him to pass a message on to Bush about Taiwan's arms procurement plans.

Earlier in the day, the spouses of the APEC representatives paid a visit to the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, an ancient Vietnamese structure that was built in 1070 while the leaders held their close-door meeting in the National Conference Center.

During the tour of the historical site, Sophie Chang (張淑芬), Morris Chang's wife, talked with US first lady Laura Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife Akie Abe.

The group appeared to be having a friendly exchange while listening to a guide describe the temple's history.

The spouses were shown some traditional Vietnamese silk embroidery in the temple and Sophie Chang discussed several of the art works with other leaders' wives.

Both Sophie Chang and Laura Bush's daughters are members of the First Book New York City Advisory Board, Sophie Chang said in a press conference yesterday afternoon.

Sophie Change said the two had many common points of interest to talk about during the tour. Sophie Chang showed Laura Bush an email written by her daughter and Laura wrote “with thanks to First Book” on it as a gift to Chang's daughter.

First Book is a project that Laura Bush is promoting in the US, which aims to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own brand new books.

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