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Lien-Clinton official meet marks 20-year milestone

The China Post news staff--Former Vice President Lien Chan, who attended the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit held Sept. 7-9 in Vladivostok, Russia on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou, achieved a great breakthrough during the event, having an official bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the highest-level talks between Taiwan and the U.S. in 20 years.

This led to an encouraging conclusion: the immediate resumption of the bilateral talks under the Trade And Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said yesterday.

The spokesman said that Lien took time out at the APEC meeting to call President Ma twice about the encouraging news and other concrete achievements, and Ma felt very happy and extended gratitude to Lien for his efforts and outstanding performance during the APEC Leaders' Summit meeting.

Lien and his wife Lien Fang-yu returned to Taiwan yesterday morning after winding up the fruitful trip to the 2012 APEC summit meeting.

Lien and Clinton just had a short chat with each other during the 2011 APEC summit meeting held Nov. 12-13 in Hawaii, but this year they sat down for an official talk and touched on the importance of upgrading economic and trade ties between both sides. Clinton told Lien that the U.S. is ready to dispatch senior trade officials to Taiwan to pave the way for the resumption of bilateral talks under the framework of TIFA, the presidential spokesman said.

Last Friday, Lien also sent back good news after meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao who promised to help Taiwan to join the United Nations' affiliated International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO is aimed at promoting safety and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.

Joining the ICAO would help Taiwan remain in sync with the international aviation community in planning global aviation routes and in adjusting flight altitudes, among other practical benefits.

Taiwan was one of the founding members of the ICAO when the Convention of International Civil Aviation was signed in 1944 in Chicago, the same year the ICAO was established. But Taiwan was excluded from the Montreal-based organization after losing its U.N. seat in October of 1971, leading Taiwan to fail to receive first-hand information on international aviation standards.

During this year's APEC summit meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also took the initiative to talk with Lien, which was also a rare scene in recent years. Lien also had talks with leaders of other APEC members, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

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Former Vice President Lien Chan, left, enjoys tea with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien-loong, right, on the sidelines of the 2012 APEC Leaders' Summit in Vladivostok, Russia.

(CNA)

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