Chinese Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) yesterday dismissed the protests against his visit as a “misunderstanding,” saying they were organized by just a handful of people.
During his trip to Chiayi yesterday afternoon, Chen said at a tea party with local personalities that his trip to southern Taiwan “caused some trouble.”
Some people did not quite understand him and that led to many misunderstandings, he added.
“I believe there are only a few of them,” he said. “I was in Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山) yesterday and I was warmly welcomed ... People from both sides of the Taiwan Strait are our own flesh and blood. This rare opportunity to visit central and southern Taiwan was an experience I will never forget.”
Chen first encountered some of the people at the tea party three years ago in Fujian Province during a sightseeing tour and they invited him to visit the south of Taiwan.
During an afternoon forum, Chen and his delegation talked to local businesspeople. Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said the Chinese delegation’s visit to Chiayi was to forge ahead with Chinese investment in Taiwan, bilateral cooperation in the development of emerging industries, the export of local agricultural and fishing products to China, and to promote greater collaboration between small and medium-size businesses.
Emphasizing the importance of implementing the agreements signed with Beijing, Chiang said the forum aimed to look at ways of implementing the 15 accords signed since June 2008.
SEF Deputy Secretary-General Maa Shaw-chang (馬紹章) told reporters after the closed-door forum that Chinese businesspeople hoped to see China’s emergency purchase of agricultural products from Taiwan become a normal practice and trade evolve into industrial cooperation. They also hoped to establish a purchasing center in the south, Maa said.
Earlier in Kaohsiung, Chen told reporters after a boat ride at the Port of Kaohsiung that the city had the potential to cooperate fruitfully with the “mainland” and that the results of such cooperation would be soon become apparent.
Seemingly indifferent to the protests, Chen managed to keep cool and wave to protesters.
Chen said the purpose of his trip was to provide a forum in which small and medium-size enterprises on both sides of the Taiwan Strait could come together and help each other.
“What I just said is not aimed at soliciting businesses or buying anything,” he said. “We need to use our collective wisdom to find ways to resolve problems that affect both sides.”
Emphasizing Taiwan’s many strengths on the agricultural front, Chen promised that Chinese businesses would not undercut their Taiwanese counterparts if Taiwanese industries were able to sell their products elsewhere for better prices.
China would only buy agricultural products from Taiwan when the country encounters poor sales, he said, adding that it is a practice China has adopted over the past few years.
Chen said Taiwan could make this process easier by making improvements in the preservation, transportation and processing of the produce.
Chairman of China Cosco Holdings Co (中國遠洋控股) Wei Jiafu (魏家福) praised Kaohsiung Port as “naturally good,” meaning that ships do not need to enter through a river channel like in Shanghai Harbor.