A major "track two" diplomatic effort between Taipei and Washington will begin next Tuesday with the opening of an annual round-table meeting that will be jointly hosted by a US-based think tank and a local bank, sources said yesterday.
"Track two" refers to non-governmental or informal forms of diplomacy aimed at improving communication and mutual understanding.
The Chinatrust Commercial Bank (CTCB) yesterday released a detailed program of the one-day meeting to be jointly held with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The meeting -- which will focus on political, security and economic prospects in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as US-Taiwan cooperation -- will also be attended by high-ranking officials and scholars from Taiwan.
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will give an opening address at the meeting, while Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), senior adviser for the National Security Council, and Michael Kau (高英茂), the vice minister of foreign affairs, will take part in the discussions.
The US delegation -- including CSIS counselor Richard Fairbanks, CSIS Senior Associate Gerrit Gong, CSIS Senior Vice President and Director of Studies Erik R. Peterson and CSIS Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy Anthony Cordesman -- will arrive in Taipei today, sources said.
The delegation will meet high-ranking officials during a game of golf tomorrow, a reliable source said.
Other meetings are slated to begin on Monday.
The delegation will meet President Chen, National Security Council members, Minister of Foreign Affair Eugene Chien (簡又新), Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Minister of National Defense Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) and Council for Economic Planning and Development Chairman Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), among others.
Robert Zoellick attended the round-table meeting two years ago in his capacity as president and CEO of CSIS. Zoellick is now US trade representative.
Meanwhile, former Canadian foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy will arrive in Taipei on Thursday after being invited by the Institute for National Policy Research (INPR) for a five-day visit, sources said.
Axworthy, director and CEO of the Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues at the University of British Columbia in Canada, is slated to give a talk Friday morning on "sovereignty, security and economy with a human face," sources said.
Axworthy, Canadian foreign minister from 1996 to 2000, will also meet high-ranking Taiwanese officials including President Chen, Foreign Minister Chien and MAC Chairwoman Tsai, sources said.
Axworthy scored a diplomatic triumph for Canada when 125 nations from six continents gathered in Ottawa in 1997 to sign the Ottawa Treaty outlawing antipersonnel land mines.
Axworthy was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in forging international support for the Ottawa Treaty.