Ex-Premier Frank Hsieh arrives in China
October 5, 2012, 12:00 am TWN
XIAMEN, China -- Former Republic of China Premier Frank Hsieh arrived yesterday in his ancestral home of Xiamen, Fujian Province, where he received a warm greeting from Xiamen Deputy Mayor Kang Tao, Zhangzhou Deputy Mayor Xie Yitai and many members of the Hsieh clan.
Hsieh, the most senior member of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to visit China, expressed happiness to be there and said that hearing the familiar language made him feel as if he was going to the home of a brother.
"It is never too late to do the right thing," he said.
He was scheduled to attend a luncheon hosted by Xiamen Mayor Liu Keqing before making a trip to nearby Dongshan Island to pay tribute to his ancestors, visit the Widow Village exhibition hall there and have dinner with Hsieh clan members.
He will visit Xiamen University and a Taiwanese enterprise before leaving for Beijing the following day, where he is expected to call on the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, attend an international bartending competition, and visit the Beijing National Stadium, known as the "Bird's Nest, " before returning to Taipei Oct. 8.
Meanwhile, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang, who was visiting Kinmen, the Taiwan-held outlying island close to China, expressed a positive stance toward Hsieh's private visit, saying that he has demonstrated the confidence of a DPP member. He also urged Beijing to renounce the use of force against Taiwan.
Hsieh, who served as premier from February 2005 to January 2006, is scheduled to visit Xiamen University and a Taiwanese enterprise Friday.
Liu Guoshen, chair of the university's Taiwan Research Institute, said more than 10 Chinese scholars will attend a closed-door seminar with Hsieh on cross-strait cultural and educational exchanges. The scholars include Xu Bodong and Lin Jin, two experts in the field of Taiwan studies.
Chinese authorities have been relatively low-key about Hsieh's itinerary in China, saying only that several officials from the Taiwan Affairs Office's branch office in Xiamen and Fujian Province will meet with him during his short visit.
DPP Heavyweights' Visit to China
Former President Chen Shui-bian and former Vice President Annette Lu visited China nearly 20 years ago when they were legislator and Taoyuan County magistrate, respectively.
In 2000, Hsieh, then mayor of Kaohsiung, planned to visit Xiamen at the invitation the city's mayor, but Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council under the DPP administration did not approve the travel plan.
During a visit to China in May 2009, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu specifically referred to Taiwan's leader as "President Ma Ying jeou of our central government," in a conversation with Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong. Her reference was interpreted by the Taiwanese media as a political breakthrough.
Chen was in China to promote the 2009 World Games that was to take place in her city.
A few months after its defeat in the Jan. 14 presidential election this year, the DPP announced a revival of its Department of China Affairs.
Visit Can Foster Deeper Understanding: Speaker
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said yesterday that the current visit to China by Hsieh of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party can lead to deeper understanding across the Taiwan Strait and help resolve differences between the two sides.
The ruling Kuomintang legislative speaker said he hopes interaction between the DPP and Chinese authorities can be broadened in the future.