Sun, Apr 11, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Former premier given permission to visit Shanghai

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) was given the green light to visit Shanghai next month to officially open the Taiwan Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo, Executive Yuan spokesman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday.

Liu is scheduled to visit Shanghai between May 11 and May 16 in his capacity as chairman of the National Cultural Association, an institution funded by the government. Liu’s visit to China has given rise to security concerns, as he only stepped down as premier seven months ago.

Chiang said Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) replied to a query from the Ministry of the Interior on Friday saying that “[since] the purpose of [Liu’s] trip was for cultural exchanges, it was not a matter of national security.”

In light of Wu’s endorsement, it was expected that the ministry, which reviews requests by officials to visit China, would soon convene a joint review board to consider Liu’s application.

Retired senior officials and government personnel who had a security clearance and intend to visit China are required to file an application with the ministry’s National Immigration Agency, which then consults with the agency that employed the applicant, before clearance can be given.

The predecessor to the National Culture Association, the Chinese Cultural Revival Organization, came directly under the Presidential Office.

Wang Chih-kang (王志剛), chairman of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, which organized the Taiwan Pavilion at the World Expo, said on Wednesday that the directive for Liu to preside over the official opening ceremony “came from above.”

Pressed by reporters on whether this meant it came from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Wang declined to comment, but said Liu was the perfect candidate to take part in the ceremony.

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