Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu (吳昭燮) departed yesterday for Washington to attend US President George W. Bush's inauguration ceremony slated to take place on Thursday.
Led by Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), the Taiwanese delegation to the ceremony also includes Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), executive director of the Institute for National Policy Research, Maysing Yang (楊黃美幸), chairperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) Research and Planning Committee, and Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉), assistant research fellow at the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) said yesterday.
At a legislative question-and answer session yesterday morning, Wu said he planned to stay in Washington a few more days after Bush's inauguration to discuss cross-strait affairs with US academics and congressmen.
The arrangement of cross-strait flights for the Lunar New Year is expected to be among the key issues Wu will discuss with Washington.
Asked by legislators whether the MAC will work toward normalization of cross-strait charter flights for the Lunar New Year in the coming years, Wu said the council would "continue its efforts."
"We would not exclude the possibility of launching cross-strait charter flights on other major holidays," Wu said.
The government, added Wu, is willing to seek opportunities to launch cross-strait charter cargo flights.
"The ball is in China's court," he said. "If Beijing is willing to talk to us on this, we will be happy to respond."
Since the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) traveled to Washington to explain Beijing's planned anti-secession law earlier this month, MOFA has sent officials to the US and Europe to lobby against acceptance of the legislation, which aims to curb Taiwan's independence activities.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) led the lobbying group to Europe to explain Taiwan's stance on the law, while Wu is expected to discuss the law with US officials and academics.