Fri, Dec 10, 2010 - Page 3 News List

ARATS head not receiving expo privileges, Taipei says

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

The Taipei City Government denied that it is giving privileged treatment to the chairman of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), during his visit to Taipei by arranging for him to visit the International Flora Expo prior to opening hours.

Chen is scheduled to lead a team of Chinese negotiators to -Taiwan next week for the sixth round of cross-strait talks with Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation.

The meetings are likely to be held at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, and Chen is expected to visit the expo after the talks.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday confirmed the expo organizers’ plan to arrange for Chen to visit the expo about 30 minutes before it opens to the public at 9am.

“We have made similar -arrangements for all our guests at the expo, inviting them to visit the expo before opening hours. There is no privileges being given to Mr Chen,” he said.

He denied allegations that the expo would be entirely closed during Chen’s visit, promising that the expo would keep to its original schedule and protect visitors’ rights.

The flora expo, which opens daily from 9am to 10pm, attracts more than 40,000 visitors every day. Security agencies had suggested that the organizers close the expo and exhibition halls to the public during Chen’s visit because they were concerned about the safety of the guests.

Security concerns caused former US president Bill Clinton to cancel his visit to the expo at the last minute when he came to Taiwan last month.

Hau refused to reveal when Chen would visit to the expo.

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