Premier may invite opposition leaders to conference personally

Taipei, June 9 (CNA) Premier Jiang Yi-huah could visit the heads of two opposition parties to personally invite them to the National Conference on Trade and Economy in late July if the opportunity were to present itself, a government spokesman said Monday. Executive Yuan spokesman Sun Lih-chyun said the premier will not rule out visiting Tsai Ing-wen and Huang Kun-huei, the leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), in the face of a possible boycott of the national conference by the two parties. Sun said Jiang instructed his aides to contact the two parties in the hope of inviting them to participate in the planned national conference, set for July 26-28. The Executive Yuan sincerely hopes that the two parties will take part in the conference because it is closely related to the future development of Taiwan's economy, Sun said. DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu indicated, however, that the party remains committed to a resolution it passed several days ago saying that party members should not take part in the conference. Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lee Shih-chuan called the DPP to extend an invitation on behalf of the Cabinet to Tsai to attend the national meeting, but the party declined because of the resolution, Wu said. Wu also questioned the effectiveness of the conference because two of the issues it was expected to cover -- a controversial Taiwan-China trade-in-services pact and planned free economic pilot zones -- may be addressed at an extraordinary session of the Legislature that starts on June 13. The national conference will be attended by 180 representatives from political parties, the private sector, Internet social network communities and politicians. Another opposition party, the People First Party, announced on Monday that it will also not send representatives to the conference because Taiwan's main problem is not economic policy but political antagonism between the Kuomintang-led pan-blue camp and the DPP-led pan-green camp. The PFP said in a statement that party chairman James Soong and other party officials have consistently said that Taiwan's main problems cannot be resolved simply by holding a national conference. (By Hsieh Chia-chen, Justin Su and Evelyn Kao)