Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2009-12-10 05:49 PM
The talks are supposed to lead to the signing of agreements on fishing crew cooperation, quarantine and inspection of farm products, industrial product standards, inspection and certification, and the avoidance of double taxation.
Chen will lead a delegation from his Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits for talks with its Taiwanese semi-official counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation headed by P.K. Chiang.
Chen will arrive in Taichung on December 21 around noon, with talks between the deputy heads of the two organizations scheduled for later that day.
Chiang and Chen are expected to hold most of their talks on December 22, while December 23 will see a seminar introducing Taiwan to potential Chinese investors from various sectors. The same day, Chen will also find time for sightseeing trips in the Taichung area and Sun Moon Lake, officials said.
The Chinese delegation is expected to leave Taiwan for Beijing on December 25.
ARATS Vice President Zheng Lizhong was planning to arrive in Taichung one week early, on December 18, for final preparatory arrangements.
Zheng led the Chinese side at a round of talks in Fuzhou with SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian this week. The SEF said the meetings were fruitful and significant progress had been reached in the preparation of the texts for the four agreements.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan said she had waited until the Fuzhou talks were over before announcing Chen’s itinerary. She rejected allegations that she wanted to keep the details of the Chinese official’s visit secret.
Chen’s presence in Taichung is expected to attract numerous protests, as did his visit to Taipei for the second round of negotiations in November last year. Supporters of Taiwan Independence want to express their opposition against a wide range of issues, including China’s denial of Taiwanese sovereignty, its military threats and the government’s plans for an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement.
Lai repeated government assertions Thursday that the topic of an ECFA would not be negotiated during the Taichung talks. The government has said serious discussions of the trade agreement would take place after the new year, with the signing expected near the middle of 2010.
Plans to crowd protesters into a restricted area near the hotel where the Chinese delegation will be staying met with widespread criticism. Taichung Mayor Jason Hu later rejected the plan because he said it might violate the constitutional right to free speech and protest.
The Taichung Police announced Thursday it had ordered 500 pink jackets to provide to reporters covering the event. The pieces of clothing would be numbered but journalists would not be required to wear them everywhere, police said.
Lai drew fire at the Legislative Yuan Thursday for a television ad calling on China to remove its missiles targeted at Taiwan. The commercial was misleading because broadcasting it ahead of the Taichung talks would give viewers the impression that an announcement to remove the missiles was imminent, Kuomintang lawmaker Huang Chao-chun said.
Lai emphasized that cross-straits talks at the moment focused on economic and practical topics, and that it was too early to move on to political and military issues.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party said the MAC should show the commercial to Chen and buy advertising space in the Chinese media.