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Tsai lauds Hsieh for 'brave' cross-strait visit

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen lauded Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) for his decision to take a “brave step forward” to mainland China.

Tsai extended her best wishes to Hsieh and hopes that his trip will strengthen mutual understanding across the Strait, so that the Taiwan-China relationship can develop in the direction of trust and respect, added Tsai's spokesperson Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) of the former chairwoman's “Little Ing Foundation” (小英基金會) yesterday.

Hsieh, a former DPP chairman and former Taiwan premier, confirmed earlier this week that he will be attending an international bartending competition in mainland China, in a personal capacity as chairman of the Taiwan Reform Foundation (台灣維新基金會). He departs on Oct. 4 and will be the most senior member from the former DPP administration to visit China.

Hsieh's trip has drawn mixed responses, including former Vice President Annette Lu's statement that she herself would not travel to China under Hsieh's circumstances. Tsai's response is generally positive, according to her spokesperson.

Hsieh has great seniority in the DPP, so public scrutiny on his visit is inevitable. But detractors should not dwell overmuch on issues of sovereignty to create more trouble and reduce the significance of the event. Hsieh has done something that “is not easy” — to have achieved a cross-strait exchange at all is meaningful, said Tsai as relayed by her spokesman.

Hsieh's Itinerary

Hsieh is set to embark on a five-day trip to mainland China on Oct. 4.

On day one, Hsieh flies directly into Fujian province's Xiamen (廈門) to pay homage to the land of his ancestors. Next he will visit Dongshan Island's (東山島) Village of Widows (寡婦村), so named for being home to nearly 100 women widowed after the Nationalists retreated to Taiwan.

Both sides of the Strait should remember the Village of Widows and other tragedies of the Chinese Civil War, to avoid repeating history's mistakes, said Hsieh in a statement released by his office.

On Oct. 5, Hsieh will visit a local university and Taiwan businesses in Xiamen, before flying to Beijing.

In Beijing on Oct. 6, Hsieh is due to visit the Beijing National Stadium, which is dubbed the Bird's Nest.

On Oct. 7, Hsieh attends the International Bartenders Association (IBA) World Cocktail Championship. He returns to Taipei at noon on Oct. 8.

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