Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday said she would not attend a luncheon with Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) as part of the Chinese envoy’s tour of the south tomorrow.
The rejection of the invitation by host E United Group could undermine the chances of an informal meeting between Chen Yunlin and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) municipality heads, who do not oppose the visit.
The decision by Chen Chu, who said the private gathering was unrelated to her official duties, could have been the result of pressure from pro-independence groups opposed to the meeting.
Supporters of the groups, who have promised to rally hundreds on Greater Kaohsiung streets tomorrow, said on Monday that politicians willing to meet Chen Yunlin should be ready to be “washed in eggs.”
If Chen Chu meets the Chinese envoy, “we should be ready to serve [her] rotten eggs,” said Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), head of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, the group involved in organizing the protests.
Former Kaohsiung County commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) is expected to take part in the dinner, held at Eda World, the tourist complex where Chen Yunlin will be staying, along with dozens of executives and local politicians, including municipal council speaker Hsu Kun-yuan (許崑源).
Chen Chu said she did not rule out meeting Chen Yunlin at another venue, such as the cross-strait economic forum being organized by Greater Kaohsiung officials to coincide with Chen Yunlin’s overnight visit. It was not known whether Chen Chu or Chen Yunlin would attend the forum, for which officials said more than 20 senior executives had already signed up.
Chen Yunlin is scheduled to arrive in Taipei today before embarking on a three-day visit to Greater Kaohsiung and Chiayi City as well as Chiayi and Yunlin counties.
Greater Tainan was earlier dropped from the schedule.
The Straits Exchange Foundation has defined the trip as an economic visit focusing on building ties between cross-strait businesses. The Chinese envoy, who will reportedly be accompanied by 30 Chinese industrialists, will visit factories, economic zones and ports over the week.
Despite a welcoming statement given by the DPP municipalities, more than 100 protesters have pledged to tail Chen Yunlin during all parts of his visit to express their opposition against deepening cross-strait economic ties.
The DPP said it would not endorse the protests, which will be led by the Southern Taiwan Society, One Side One Country Alliance and the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan.
DPP officials have nevertheless called on law enforcement agencies to show restraint and allow the protests to proceed.