Sat, Sep 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

PFP expects great things from new cross-strait forum


The People First Party (PFP) is scheduled to host a cross-strait economics forum in Shanghai this month to help facilitate business and trade exchanges between Taiwan and China, a PFP spokesman said yesterday.

PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will lead a party delegation to Shanghai for the forum, which will focus on four major topics: Taiwan's economic development and Taiwanese businesspeople's roles in China; direct cross-strait air links; agricultural exchanges and the normalization of cross-strait business and trade relations, said Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), director of the PFP's Policy Research Center.

PFP Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) and Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of Beijing's State Council, will jointly preside over the opening and closing of the forum.

PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄), a cardiologist-turned-politician, will deliver a keynote speech at the closing ceremony, while noted academics from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, including Yeh Wan-an (葉萬安), Hu Angang (胡鞍鋼) and Li Yining (厲以寧), will deliver research reports.

This will be the first high-ranking PFP delegation to visit China since Soong's "bridge-building" journey to Beijing in May, during which he met with President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

According to Chang, Soong has great expectations for the forum, considering it to be a concrete step in realizing the sixth point of the Hu-Soong consensus reached during their May 12 meeting, namely that a private "dialogue platform" should be formed to help accelerate exchanges across the Strait.

Chang said that the PFP may arrange for Soong and his delegation to return to Taiwan via the "small three links" route, which would entail flying from Shanghai to Xiamen, then taking a ferry to Kinmen.

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