Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) has apparently canceled a visit to Greater Tainan as part of his upcoming economic trip to parts of southern Taiwan on Wednesday next week for unknown reasons, the municipal government confirmed yesterday.
The head of Beijing’s Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) was set to visit Greater Kaohsiung, Chiayi City and Greater Tainan, but the latter has reportedly been dropped from the itinerary, sources said.
The decision comes amid protest plans by pro-independence groups and Greater Tainan Councilor Wang Ding-yu (王定宇), who was involved in a shoving incident involving ARATS Vice Chairman Zhang Mingqing (張銘清) in October 2008.
A joint statement, signed by Wang and six other councilors, contended that they were not necessarily opposed to the visit, but suggested that it be conducted on a state-to-state basis with the People’s Republic of China flag flown alongside its Republic of China counterpart at venues Chen visits.
Officials, including Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德), have expressed confusion over whether or not Greater Tainan was even included on the original list of cities to be visited.
“We were never told [by the Straits Exchange Foundation] whether he was coming ... but it appears that [Chen] will no longer be making the trip,” he said.
Chen’s trip will be his fourth to Taiwan, but the first time he will visit Democratic Progressive Party-administered municipalities in the south.
Reports suggest that Chen will be accompanied by up to 30 shipping and manufacturing industrialists interested in investing in Taiwan. The group is expected to visit industrial zones, farming associations and the Port of Kaohsiung as part of a six-day trip.
Chen is expected to spend at least one day each in Greater Kaohsiung and Chiayi City, although it is still unclear whether he will meet with Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊).
Protest groups have vowed to tail Chen during his visit, saying that more than 100 protesters are expected at parts of the trip.