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May 28, 2017

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Boao Forum swaps seating plan in opening ceremony

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Vice President Vincent Siew, leader of Taiwan's delegation to the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013, will unexpectedly sit in the second row at the opening ceremony, instead of the first row, according to sources.

The arrangements for Sunday's ceremony are the result of the principles of "simplicity and frugality" that have been adopted by the forum's Chinese organizers, the sources said.

Based on the principles advocated by new Chinese President Xi Jinping, there will be a major change in the seating arrangements for key participants in the opening ceremony of the annual forum held in Boao, in southern China.

The arrangements will see Xi and all speakers sitting not on the stage but instead in the first row of the audience, while other VIP guests will sit in the rows behind them.

Seven presidents, three prime ministers and two parliamentary speakers, as well as United Nations General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, will sit with Xi in the first row, as they will all speak during the opening ceremony.

Meanwhile, former Taiwan Vice President Vincent Siew, former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, and former Philippine President Fidel Ramos, among others, will sit in the second row.

Xi is slated to deliver a keynote speech on the topic of "Asia Seeking Development for All: Restructuring, Responsibility and Cooperation" at the opening ceremony. This will be the first time Xi has delivered a speech at an international forum held in Asia after he took power in March this year.

Xi will also meet with 30 business representatives from China and other countries participating in the forum. It will be the first time a Chinese leader has engaged in direct face-to-face talks with business representatives at the forum.

Some 2,500 people from 43 countries will participate in the forum.

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