KMT moves trade forum to China

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Fri, Sep 08, 2006 - Page 3

The executive director of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) policy coordination department yesterday said that the party's economic and trade forum next month will change its venue from Taiwan to China.

Exact location of the meeting has yet to be finalized, added Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), who headed a KMT delegation to China yesterday morning in what delegation members claimed was an effort to promote cross-strait tourism and help revitalize Taiwan's service industries.

The KMT has invited Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council, to visit Taipei next month to attend a forum on agricultural cooperation jointly sponsored by the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party.

While Chen has accepted the invitation, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has yet to make decision on whether to allow his visit.

Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) has sent three letters to its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, suggesting that the two sides hold prior consultations before the association can decide whether to allow Chen to visit Taiwan next month.

The KMT had previously invited Chen and other Beijing officials to visit Taiwan in mid-December last year to attend an economic and trade forum hosted by the party, but the government then denied them entry as no official arrangements had been made.

Tseng yesterday said that the issue of whether Chen would be allowed to come to Taiwan next month was not the entire reason why the KMT decided to change the meeting's venue, although he did not elaborate what the "other reasons" were.

The delegation also includes KMT legislators Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆), who also doubles as the KMT caucus whip.

Shortly before his departure from Taiwan, Tseng told reporters at the airport that the delegation would pay a courtesy call on Chen.

Tseng said members of the delegation would also hold talks with Chinese government departments to discuss the possibility of Beijing relaxing its tourism policy and allowing Chinese people to go to Taiwan on sightseeing trips and, at the same time, permitting regular passenger charter flights between Taiwan and China on weekends.