Thu, Nov 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Soong set to meet with at least five leaders at APEC

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s special envoy to the APEC leadership summit, People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), is scheduled to meet with at least five national leaders attending the annual meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, declining to reveal the names.

In the buildup to the summit tomorrow and Saturday in Da Nang, Vietnam, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) yesterday asked Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) to reveal what kind of arrangements the ministry have made for Soong.

“Given our nation’s special condition, we have arranged bilateral [leaders’] meetings with at least five nations,” Lee said at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, which was convened to review the results of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) trip to three Pacific Ocean diplomatic allies.

Experience has shown that some nations are willing to disclose their leader’s meeting with Taiwan’s envoy, while others prefer to keep such a meeting secret, he would refrain from revealing the identities of the five nations out of respect.

Asked whether Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) was among the five, Lee said it was “inconvenient” for him to talk about the matter.

Lo asked whether any high-level officials from the Mainland Affairs Council and its Chinese counterpart, the Taiwan Affairs Office, would be accompanying Soong and Xi to the APEC summit.

“When [former vice president] Lien Chan (連戰) met with Chinese leaders in his capacity as the special envoy to APEC, both sides were in the company of high-level officials from the two government agencies charged with handling cross-strait issues,” Lo said.

Lee said to his knowledge, no high-ranking Mainland Affairs Council officials are in Soong’s delegation, adding that he has yet to receive any information regarding whether any Taiwan Affairs Office officials are in the Chinese delegation.

Lo then asked about the delay in Vietnam issuing a visa to Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中), who is serving as the chief adviser and spokesman for the delegation.

Deng was unable to leave with the delegation on Tuesday due to a visa problem. He received the document late on Tuesday and departed for Vietnam at 7:40am yesterday.

“Except for the 2014 APEC summit in Shanghai, China, have any of our delegation members encountered difficulty in securing a visa before their scheduled departure?” Lo asked.

Lee acknowledged it was the first time, but declined to link the incident with a “third party” or Chinese pressure.

The ministry was given different reasons for the delay, but said there was no point in revealing them now that the problem has been resolved, Lee said.

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