Hu Jintao Converses with Chen Shui-bian's Representative at APEC
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Hu Jintao conversed with Taiwan envoy Stan Shih at the APEC summit in Sydney on September 8. A rare sight to see, Hu chatted with Chen Shui-bian's representative Shih on a love seat for five to ten minutes.
Central News Agency reported that Taiwan's representative at APEC, Stan Shih, stated on September 9 that he had already passed on President Chen's message and good wishes to U.S. President Bush and CCP leader Hu. He could not disclose the exact content, but his talk with Hu did not touch upon the issue of Taiwan holding a referendum on whether to apply for membership in the United Nations under the name of Taiwan. As to whether he had talked about this with Bush, Shih said that it was “not appropriate” for him to answer.
Shih hopes that the Taiwan president will be able to attend APEC in person in the future, since a leader's representative is only a representative after all.
At a press conference held on the evening of September 9 at the Sheraton Hotel, where Shih was staying in Sydney, Shih said that the APEC summit had concluded successfully. He had passed on President Chen's messages to other leaders at the summit. Now that this “heavy burden has been lifted off” his shoulder, Shih said that now he just hopes that he successfully fulfilled his mission.
In the two-day summit and activities, Shih and Hu interacted quite a few times. They even sat down and had a chat. Shih said that Hu was very polite and, knowing that Shih is a businessman, did not talk too much about political issues. “Perhaps he did not want to embarrass me.”
According to Shih, all of his conversations with Hu took place during break times, so they were brief. He had presented his greeting to Hu several times. The topics they discussed included investment guarantee agreements, Chinese tourists to Taiwan, and direct chartered flights. Shih hopes to find a mutually acceptable way to establish good relations for Cross-Taiwan-Strait interactions. But Shih said their conversation did not involve any specific Taiwan investment projects in China.
As to how Hu had responded to Chen's good wishes, Shih replied with a smile, “He (Hu) should have known (Chen's good will).” Shih refused to reveal more details of their conversation because they are sensitive and can be only reported directly to Chen after he goes back to Taiwan. As to whether he invited Hu to visit Taiwan or not, Shih's answer was, “I saw the media had reported that it was so.”