Sun, Nov 02, 2008 - Page 1 News List

SEF releases itinerary for ARATS trip

IT’S A SECRET The meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and Chairman Chen Yunlin may take place on Thursday afternoon, as that time was left unscheduled

By Mo Yan-chih, Rich Chang And Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Police yesterday inspect the area around the Grand Hotel in Taipei after Vice Chairman Zheng Lizhong and other delegates from China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait checked in the day before.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) yesterday announced a rough itinerary for Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visit to Taipei, setting his meeting with SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) for Tuesday.

The SEF, however, declined to reveal the details of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) meeting with Chen, saying that the meeting was still being planned by the National Security Bureau and the SEF. It said it would make the details public as soon as they were finalized.

It is possible that the Ma-Chen meeting will take place on Thursday, as Chen does not have any public events lined up for that afternoon, but Chiang refused to confirm this.

“According to SEF and ARATS’ negotiations, we can only make part of the schedule public ... The [Ma-Chen meeting] is not yet finalized,” Chiang said yesterday during a press conference.

Chen is scheduled to arrive in Taipei tomorrow and will stay in the Grand Hotel during his five-day visit.

Chen will visit Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲), the widow of former SEF chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫), tomorrow after his arrival in Taipei, while ARATS and SEF vice chairmen will proceed with preparatory negotiations in the afternoon, SEF Secretary-General Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) said.

The Chiang-Chen meeting will be held on Tuesday morning, and the two are expected to sign four agreements in the afternoon.

Chiang and Chen met for the first round of talks in June in Beijing. That meeting was the first between the two sides since a meeting held in Singapore in 1993.

Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) will also meet Chen on Tuesday, while former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) will host a banquet for Chen on Tuesday night.

KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will meet Chen at two separate banquets on Wednesday.

Chen and Chiang will also hold forums with industry, commerce and financial groups on Wednesday.

Lien and Chen will meet again during a ceremony on Thursday to formally announce that Beijing will send two giant pandas it has promised to the Taipei Zoo. Chiang and Kao declined to comment on whether the two giant pandas were offered by China as a “unification tool,” while Kao said it was unlikely that the date of the pandas’ arrival would be finalized during the ceremony.

“The event was arranged by the zoo. As for me, I would like to take my grandson to see the pandas after they are here,” Chiang said.

Lien is expected to represent Taiwan in accepting the two pandas, and the zoo would give Beijing Formosan sika deer and Formosan serow in return.

Kao denied that China had pressured Taiwan to not reveal the times and places of part of Chen’s schedule, and said SEF and national security bodies had put great effort into making sure no incidents occur during Chen’s visit.

“We urge the people to be pragmatic and rational, demonstrate the hospitality of the Taiwanese and treat our guests with courtesy,” he said.

Chen will return to Beijing on Friday morning.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told a press conference that the DPP would soon propose a law stipulating that individuals and political parties that participate in cross-strait negotiations must declare any investments and economic interests in China they might have so they can be supervised by the public.

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