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Vice President-elect returns to Taiwan from China

ROC Central News Agency

2008-04-13 23:37:35

    Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Vice President Vincent Siew returned to Taipei late Sunday from a three-day forum in Hainan province, southern China.

    On his arrival at the Taoyuan International Airport, Siew waved to waiting jounalists but didn't answer their questions.

    Before leaving Boao, Hainan province, Siew described his attendance at the 2008 Boao Forum for Asia as a successful "ice-breaking" trip that not only helped to ease tensions across the Taiwan Strait, but also served to enhance Taiwan's international image.

    Siew told Taiwan journalists accompanied him on the trip that he hoped his 20-minute meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the forum will lead to a better understanding between Taipei and Beijing and contribute to the trust-building process across the strait.

    The Hu-Siew meeting, the highest political contact between Taipei and Beijing during the last six decades, was the highlight of Siew's activities in Boao and was considered a breakthrough in the political impasse between China and Taiwan.

    Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of its territory had ceased all contact with Taiwan since 1999 when then-Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui described the relations between his country and China as "special state to state, " had hardened its no-contact stance after the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party came to power in Taiwan in 2000.

    During his talks with Hu, Siew called for the launch of weekend charter flights between Taiwan and the mainland, and urged China to allow its people to visit Taiwan for sightseeing purposes.

    Stopping short of agreeing with Siew's requests immediately, Hu said Beijing will keep negotiating with Taipei on these issues.

    Siew, who will be inaugurated on May 20, took part in the forum in his private capacity as chairman of the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation which he founded in 2001 to promote the establishment of a common market between Taiwan and China.

(By Maubo Chang)

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