MOFA says APEC meetings could lead to China talks

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Jul 09, 2004 - Page 2

Proposals to allow ordinary Chinese citizens to travel to Taiwan may be discussed soon by the two countries at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Chile in October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Ling-san (林陵三) will lead the Taiwanese delegation attending the third APEC Tourism Ministers Meeting. This conference will take place in Punta Arenas, Chile, on Oct. 13 and 14, said Jich Wen-chich (介文汲), deputy director general of the MOFA's Department of International Organizations.

"Minister Lin has mentioned that he would not exclude the possibility of raising the issue to the Chinese delegation at the Chile conference," Jich told the Taipei Times yesterday.

"Taiwan and China are both APEC members. Taiwan and China's statuses are equal under the APEC framework," Jich observed at a press conference in Taipei.

In recent years, Taiwanese and Chinese delegations discussed several issues on the sidelines of APEC conferences, Jich said. "If Lin wants to talk to the Chinese delegation, MOFA will help arrange such meetings," he said.

Lin has received an invitation to participate in the Chile conference, Jich said.

Lin's deputy Chang Chia-chu (張家祝) will lead another delegation to attend the fourth APEC Transport Ministers Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from July 27 to 29, and will hold talks with some APEC members on the conference's sidelines, added Jich.

Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) will lead a delegation to the 11th APEC Finance Ministers Meeting in Santiago, Chile, from Sept. 1 to 3, Jich said.

He said the finance ministers' conference will discuss economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as policies for financial stability.

"Chile, which hosts [some] APEC [meetings] this year, has displayed great respect to Taiwan as a APEC member," Jich said.

"It has treated Taiwan fairly and our communication with Chile has been smooth," he said.