‘Unexpected’ Ko-Chen meeting bid fails

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Dec 16, 2014 - Page 1

An informal meeting between Taipei mayor-elect Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) went awry yesterday.

The meeting was arranged by Taiwan Memory Co (台灣記憶體公司) chairman John Hsuan (宣明智). Media outlets reported that the plan was to seat Ko and Chen at separate tables for lunch at the same restaurant and then have Ko and Chen meet each other “unexpectedly.”

However, Chen, who arrived on Tuesday last week for an eight-day visit, said he was delayed at the Cross-Strait CEO Summit in the morning in Taipei and was therefore unable to visit Hsuan’s biotechnology company, Meribank (宣捷幹細胞生技), in New Taipei City as planned, so the lunch did not take place.

Ko, who wen to the restaurant for a discussion with Hsuan on the development of the health industry in Taipei, joked that Chen was scared off the Taiwanese media.

Ko, who is not affiliated with any political party, although the Democratic Progressive Party supported him during his election campaign, said he did not regret that the informal meeting with Chen had not happened, as he did not know that Chen would be there to begin with.

Earlier in the day, when news of the plan to have Ko and Chen meet emerged, reporters asked Ko what he would have said to Chen if the two had met.

Ko said that he had no idea what the two of them would say to each other, apart from: “Hello.”

Chen did meet yesterday with former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) in separate visits.

Chen’s trip is the first by a senior Chinese official since the Nov. 29 nine-in-one elections, in which the KMT experienced heavy losses. Lien’s son, KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文), and Wu’s son, Taoyuan County Commissioner John Wu (吳志揚), were defeated in the elections.

According to sources, Chen’s meetings with Lien Chan and Wu Poh-hsiung did not touch upon the election in an effort to avoid awkwardness.

Additional reporting by Peng Hsien-chun