Former Philippine president Fidel Valdez Ramos arrived in Taiwan yesterday for a five-day friendship visit aimed at improving bilateral ties.
The 85-year-old seemed to be in high spirits, smiling and swinging his briefcase as he spoke to reporters.
Chen Wen-ju (陳文儒), president of the Taiwanese Chamber of the South Philippines, told reporters that Ramos is to meet high-ranking officials to discuss issues such as the possibility of signing a bilateral mutual visa-waiver agreement and a free-trade pact.
Ramos will then relay the suggestions made at the meetings to the Philippine government when he returns, Chen said.
The former Philippine president is leading a 60-member delegation comprised of congress members, regional leaders, judges and businesspeople on his sixth friendship visit to Taiwan.
He is scheduled to meet Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) today and former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) tomorrow. Ramos is also set to visit local government officials in New Taipei City and Taoyuan County.
He is then scheduled to take part in an annual golf tournament in Taoyuan, before returning to the Philippines on Sunday.
Revered at home for having revitalized the economy, Ramos’ trip is expected to bolster relations that hit an all-time low after Philippine Coast Guard personnel killed Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成) last year.