Mon, Apr 20, 2009 - Page 3 News List

We can help China with charitable aid, Fredrick Chien says

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwan can do something for China, particularly in charitable services for disadvantaged groups, Taiwan’s top representative to the Boao Forum told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) on Saturday.

Fredrick Chien (錢復), a former president of the Control Yuan who also served as minister of foreign affairs and representative to the US, met Wen on the sidelines of the annual international forum of government officials and business leaders in Hainan.

Only the first few minutes of the Chien-Wen meeting were open for media coverage, with the rest occurring behind closed doors.

Chien told reporters after his longer-than-expected talks with Wen that he came up with several proposals in his capacity as a private citizen, not as a representative of Taiwan’s government.

Chien said he told Wen that Taiwan’s Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation was planning to build a new community in Indonesia that would include hospitals, factories, schools and housing units to accommodate 4,000 households in a slum.

The project also includes developing tourism in the area.

Chien, who is attending the forum as the top adviser to the Taipei-based Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation, said the foundation had expressed its willingness to organize a similar project in China.

Chien said that some Taiwanese civic groups had also helped with the restoration of the ancient Loulan Castle in Xinjiang.

Responding to remarks by Wen that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were connected at the roots and shared the same blood, Chien said he noticed that in his March 5 report to the National People’s Congress, Wen advocated the idea of cross-strait “peaceful development” and boosting bilateral engagement on an equal footing.

Chien told Wen that he looked forward to seeing China help Taiwan realize its goal of receiving 1 million Chinese visitors each year and purchase home appliances to help Taiwanese makers weather out the global economic recession.

In an effort to allay the apprehensions of some pro-independence groups over rumors that he could be President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) representative to broach the proposal of signing an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China, Chien said he did not mention the matter in his talks with Wen, nor did he touch on the county’s desire to join the ASEAN Plus Three regional economic bloc.

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