Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday expressed his excitement on witnessing Friday’s inaugural cross-strait weekend charter flights, calling it an achievement that would make people around the world proud.
“I believe the implementation of cross-strait charter flights and the arrival of the first group of Chinese tourists in Taiwan could promote peaceful cross-strait development and make people around the world proud of this generation of Chinese,” Lien said while addressing a luncheon at the Grand Formosa Regent Hotel in Taipei to welcome China’s Cross-Strait Tourism Association chairman Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉).
Dozens of charter flights landed and departed at airports around the country on Friday, bringing the first group of Chinese tourists to Taiwan following the implementation of cross-strait charter flights.
Lien and his wife, accompanied by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and about 30 KMT legislators, hosted the luncheon for Shao and the first batch of Chinese tourists to take the maiden weekend charter flight to Taiwan.
Greeting Shao and the Chinese tourists, Lien lauded the historical significance of the inaugural flights, saying the two sides of the Taiwan Strait had waited 60 years for direct flights.
Lien also blamed the administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for refusing to push direct flights and open the country to Chinese tourists despite the consensus reached at the KMT-Chinese Communist Party forum in 2005 on cross-strait flights and tourism.
“It’s a shame that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait failed to engage in any form of exchanges in the past. Now we have learned our lesson that a responsible political party should promote cross-strait relations,” he said.
Shao said he agreed that cross-strait charter flights and allowing Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan would stimulate the economy on both sides of the Strait.
Shao’s dual status as both chairman of the China National Tourism Association and that of the semi-official Cross-Strait Travel Association has made him the focus of media attention.
Earlier yesterday, Shao said he was excited about the fact that Chinese tourists could now travel in Taiwan without having to transit via a third county.
“I believe that Chinese tourists can all sense the warmth and hospitality of Taiwanese people,” Shao told reporters after paying his respects to Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) at Taipei’s Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall yesterday morning.
“They will bring these precious feelings back to China, which will attract more tourists to come,” Shao said.
Cheng Nai-wen (鄭乃文), director general of National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, said he had given Shao and the 34 Chinese delegates traveling with him special album sabout the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. The albums include sketches of the memorial hall’s design, paintings and memorial stamps featuring the memorial hall and Sun Yat-sen’s calligraphy.
“The album is only given to special guests visiting the memorial hall,” he said. “It is not for sale.”
Later last night, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) also hosted a dinner party for Shao and other Chinese tourism industry representatives.
While lauding the implementation of weekend charter flights and the arrival of the first group of Chinese tourists as a major step toward peaceful cross-strait relations, Wu said he expected such exchanges to help China understand Taiwan’s urge for peace with dignity and security.
“We are hoping that through frequent visits, friends in China will understand better Taiwanese’s legitimate wish to live under a safe environment, live in dignity and enjoy more international space,” Wu said.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient