Tue, Sep 06, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Soong finally agrees to meet Ma

CONSUMATION The PFP chairman and the KMT chairman -- who greeted Soong as he stepped off the plane from a trip to the US -- will hold talks this afternoon

BY JEWEL HUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, right, welcomes PFP Chairman James Soong, left, at CKS International Airport yesterday on Soong's return from a trip to the US.

PHOTO: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will meet this afternoon to discuss cooperation in the pan-blue camp.

Early yesterday morning Ma went to the CKS airport to greet Soong, who was returning to Taipei from the US. To show his sincerity, Ma waited for Soong in front of the arrival gate for Soong's plane.

Soong shook hands with Ma and smiled as soon as he saw him. The two spoke to each other all the way to the entrance lobby.

Surrounded by supporters and reporters, Soong for the first time voiced his willingness to meet Ma, an idea Ma proposed seven months ago. Soong said that he is flexible on the time of the meeting as he knows that Ma is busy with both municipal affairs and the KMT's affairs.

Ma is also mayor of Taipei City.

Soong also said that talks with Ma will be significant for pan-blue cooperation, adding that strengthening the pan-blue camp's monitoring of the government will be one of the priorities.

"Our talks won't be just for show. We will discuss every topic without limitation," Soong said. "Chairman Ma and I will exchange opinions in detail on the problems that the country has encountered."

"We will not stint on issues that we should cooperate on and will review those matters that should remain behind closed doors," Soong added.

Since February, Ma said that he hoped to meet Soong. But the PFP declined Ma's invitation, saying that Soong had a full schedule and the arrangement was too hasty.

After winning the KMT chairmanship election, Ma brought up the idea again and the meeting will finally come off today.

Soong yesterday morning said that he could meet Ma as early as yesterday afternoon or this afternoon.

But when KMT Secretary-General Chan Chuen-pao (詹春柏) called PFP Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) to arrange to meet Soong at 5pm yesterday, however, the meeting was postponed to today because of Soong's full schedule.

PFP spokesman Hsieh Kung-ping (謝公秉) said yesterday that Soong had been in continuous meetings with high-ranking PFP officials and legislators from the moment he arrived at his home in Linkou (林口) Township. Therefore, the Soong-Ma meeting will take place at the KMT's headquarters today, Hsieh said.

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