Lien Chan meets with Hu Jintao at APEC summit
November 23, 2008, 10:03 am TWN
LIMA -- President Ma Ying-jeou's envoy to the 2008 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum leaders summit described his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao Friday as an "interesting" one between two old friends.
Lien Chan, a former Republic of China vice president, made the remarks at an international press conference after his 40-minute meeting with Hu at the Chinese president's hotel.
Lien said he called on Hu to exchange views on the agenda of the Nov. 22-23 APEC summit and other issues, saying that it was "very interesting" to meet an old friend so far from home.
Asked whether he carried any messages from Ma, Lien said only that he and Hu discussed "things about which we are concerned and how to direct our efforts toward peaceful development, cooperation and a win-win situation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait."
He also said that since the inauguration of Ma's administration in May, it has adopted a policy of reconciliation and openness toward China.
"We hope to put economics ahead of politics, " Lien went on, adding that at this stage, the focus is on the economy. Taiwan still needs to consult with China on the signing of investment guarantee agreements for Taiwanese businessmen operating in China and on the avoidance of double taxation, he noted.
Lien also said that faced with the global financial crisis, Taiwan, as a fast-growing economy, is willing to step up cooperation with other economies to make contributions.
"With regard to financial cooperation,we are willing to cooperate with other economies if the need and opportunity should arise, " Lien said.
He said he supports efforts toward promoting international trade liberalization and expressed hope that trade liberalization under the framework of the World Trade Organization will be realized soon.
Foreign reporters covering the meeting said Latin American nations dare not sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with Taiwan due to the "one China" principle, and asked Lien if he discussed the matter with Hu.
Lien said that the issue is more complex than that and was not included in the meeting, adding that while the promotion of FTAs is important,the multilateral free trade system under the APEC framework is also crucial.
Lien's meeting with Hu lasted for 40 minutes and was opened to the media for around five minutes.
Lien addressed the Chinese leader as "General Secretary Hu" —Hu met Lien in his capacity as general secretary of the Communist Party of China — while Hu addressed Lien as "chairman," referring to his post as honorary chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT).
"Today, General Secretary (Hu) is the national leader, and I am the envoy of the national leader (President Ma), " Lien added at one point, a skillful way to highlight parity between Taiwan and China.
Lien said he was very happy to have a third meeting with Hu this year, noting that the previous two meetings took place in April and at the August Olympics in Beijing, respectively.