Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) yesterday said he was “excited” about his first visit to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) stronghold of southern Taiwan as the second leg of his six-day trip took him to Greater Kaohsiung.
Chen, who arrived in Taipei on Wednesday, is leading a delegation of more than 50 Chinese businessmen and government officials in meetings with business leaders in Grater Kaohsiung.
Chen said the purpose of his visit to Greater Kaohsiung was simple.
“We want to seek the possibility of development,” Chen said. “The development is mine, yours and ours ... We come to discuss with you the economic development here, especially on how your small- and medium-size businesses can work together with their mainland counterparts so they can make up for each other’s deficiencies.”
When both sides become more affluent, Chen said, China’s unemployment problem could be resolved and so would Taiwan’s.
Lin Pao-chuan (林保川), director of Kaohsiung Chamber of Industry, described Chen as a “businessman and politician” and said he hoped Chen’s visit could help the economic development of Greater Kaohsiung following the merger of Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung County in December.
“Today’s small step is a giant step for the development of the city’s economy,” he said.
John Yeh (葉致中), director of the Kaohsiung Commerce and Trade Development Association, urged Taipei and Beijing to work together, saying that only through cooperation could the two sides create a win-win scenario.
“The mainland has the market and also many problems that need the help of Taiwan,” he said. “Taiwan has the talent and know-how, but it also has some problems that need the help of the mainland.”
To find a solution for both, Yeh said, the two sides must deepen their bilateral exchanges and build mutual trust.
While nothing substantial was discussed during yesterday’s meeting, Yeh said talking helped both sides to better understand each other.
“Today is a good start,” he said.
Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) did not attend yesterday’s meeting. Yeh said she had not been invited, citing time constraints and the business nature of the meeting.
After the closed-door forum, Chen visited the Nantze Export Processing Zone and Buddhist Master Hsing Yun (星雲法師) at the Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山) in the afternoon.
Hsing Yun, who is considered sympathetic to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said interactions are important in interpersonal relations.
“It doesn’t matter who interacts with whom because in the end we are one family,” he said. “We don’t ask where our visitors come from. We are all Chinese ... we are all proud of being Chinese.”
Chen said the relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is like that of brothers and only family members separated for a long period of time can understand such feelings.
“The feelings I just mentioned are shared by members of my delegation,” he said. “I also want to thank the dedication of the Master who has helped people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait join forces in the great endeavor of invigorating the Chinese nation.”
Soon after Chen finished talking, former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) called Chen on his cellphone and the two chatted briefly while Chen was still on the podium.