Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Top officials to attend Beijing forum

By Chung Li-hua and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A placard showing the logo of last year’s Straits Forum with the slogan “expanding public exchanges, deepening integrative development” stands in front of the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in China in an undated photograph.

Photo: screen grab from the Internet

Two deputy mayors and one county commissioner are to attend an annual conference on cross-strait affairs held in Beijing from June 15 to 21, despite others having canceled.

The Straits Forum, to be held from Saturday to Friday next week, is to be hosted by Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee Chairman Wang Yang (汪洋).

Wang is expected to speak about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) insistence that Taiwan be unified with China under Beijing’s “one country, two systems” framework.

A report by the Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) on Friday last week said that the mayors of Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, and the commissioners of Kinmen and Yunlin counties, as well as some councilors, had applied for permits to attend the conference.

After the report was published, six of those who had planned to attend canceled their plans citing concerns that Wang would be speaking about the “one country, two systems” formula.

However, despite those cancelations, Taichung Deputy Mayor Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達), Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) and Kinmen County Commissioner Yang Chen-wu (楊鎮浯) were still planning to attend as of yesterday.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kinmen County Council Speaker Hung Yun-tien (洪允典), KMT Changhua County Council Speaker Hsieh Tien-lin (謝典霖) and KMT Keelung City Council Speaker Tsai Wang-lien (蔡旺璉) are also expected to attend.

KMT Vice Chairman Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) is expected to lead a KMT delegation to China’s Xiamen, from where it will depart for the conference, an anonymous source said.

The conference is supposed to highlight Beijing’s achievements in the area of cross-strait relations over the past year, and it hopes that each year would be bigger than the last, the source said.

Last year 8,000 Taiwanese attended and this year Beijing is hoping to attract 10,000 Taiwanese to the event, but there are fewer Taiwanese going this year than last year, the source said, adding that Beijing is likely to inflate attendance numbers anyway.

The Web site for the conference lists 67 activities, with two of the activities expected to be hosted by National Taiwan University and Shih Hsin University respectively.

The Mainland Affairs Council said it would investigate and discuss the schools’ participation with the Ministry of Education.

Other activities are scheduled to be hosted by Taiwanese media companies, including the Visual and Audio Production Association (Republic of China), the Confederation of Entertainment Unions, the Taipei Multimedia Production Association, Eastern Broadcasting Co and CtiTV.

Taiwanese media company Want Want China Times Media Group is also scheduled to host several seminars and activities at the conference, the Web site showed.

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