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Hau Lung-bin meets Zhang Zhijun in Beijing
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-29 06:49 PM
As the first cabinet-level official from China to visit Taiwan, Taiwan Affairs Office director Zhang Zhijun might have been expected to include some time in Taipei during his four days on the island. Thus it came as a bit of a surprise when the announced itinerary included stops in New Taipei City, Kaohsiung and Taichung but not Taipei. Most observers chalked the omission up to a desire to keep Zhang’s visit as non-political as possible.

All that speculation proved irrelevant Sunday as Zhang met Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin in Beijing after returning from Taiwan Saturday evening. The TAO director hosted Hau at a luncheon in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in the Chinese capital.

Zhang Zhijun greeted Hau by saying, "I am very pleased to see an old friend," telling the mayor that he was delighted to visit Taiwan and have an opportunity to meet people from many different areas and backgrounds. He said his talks with officials and citizens basically steered away from politics, concentrating more on discussion of economic development and other related issues. He added that he felt very close to the people of Taiwan in interacting with them.

Hau told Zhang that the demonstrations he encountered in Taiwan are not the norm for the people of Taiwan, saying the protesters do not represent the views of the vast majority of people on the island. He stressed that he supports the right of anyone to express their views, but added that it should be done in a "peaceful and rational" manner.

Hau added that he hopes more economic and cultural exchanges will take place in the future. He noted that he has made several trips to Shanghai and Beijing in the past. He said he has witnessed many changes during his visits, noting that after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, urban construction has made great progress in Beijing, especially in the areas of ecological and environmental protection and urban greening. He said he hopes to see long-term peaceful development in cross-strait exchanges and cooperation to increase mutual trust, adding that he will assist in promoting such activities wherever possible.

At the same time, Hau emphasized that Taiwan is a democratic society and people need to be more tolerant and listen to the wide range of voices among the citizens of Taiwan.

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