Taiwan’s vice president-elect arrives in China

April 11th, 2008 - 5:22 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead, changing dateline)
Beijing, April 11 (DPA) Taiwan vice president-elect Vincent Siew arrived in China Friday on a landmark visit that is expected to set the tone for future ties. Siew led a delegation to southern China’s Hainan island to attend the Boao Forum for Asia, which is modelled after the World Economic Forum held every year in Davos, Switzerland, but much of the media attention focussed on Siew’s interaction with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The forum opens Saturday, and Taiwan cable TV channel ETTV said Hu and Siew would meet at 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) Saturday.

Siew is then to preside over the Taiwan-China roundtable meeting Sunday and return home Sunday evening.

China’s state media gave extensive coverage to Siew’s visit but did not confirm any arrangement for a bilateral meeting with Hu.

Siew and his running mate, Ma Ying-jeou, of the pro-China opposition Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), won a landslide victory March 20 over their rivals from the independence-leaning ruling Democratic Progressive Party. They are to be sworn in May 20.

Speaking to reporters at Taoyuan International Airport outside Taipei, Siew said the purpose of his trip was to introduce Taiwan’s economic blueprint to foreign countries so Taiwan could quickly link up with the world market.

“We will also use this opportunity to make friends,” he said.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 when the Chinese Nationalists lost the Chinese Civil War and fled to Taiwan to set up a government in exile.

China regards Taiwan, which is recognized by 23 countries, as Beijing’s breakaway province, and Chinese leaders have shunned contact with Taiwan leaders.

Because of political sensitivity, Siew is attending the Boao Forum for Asia in his capacity as chairman of the private Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation.

Hu was scheduled to address the opening of the annual regional economic forum, started by China and 25 other Asian nations in 2001 to discuss economics and other major issues.

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