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China's top cross-strait negotiator to visit Taiwan next week

Taipei, Nov. 23 (CNA) China's top negotiator with Taiwan, Chen Deming, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), will come to Taiwan Nov. 30 for a seven-day visit, Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) announced Monday.

While in Taiwan, he will visit Taipei, Taichung, New Taipei, Keelung, Yilan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Nantou, according to the SEF.

SEF Chairman Lin Join-sane had said Oct. 28 that Chen might go to cities and counties he has not visited in the past, and might visit the Gold Museum and Tamsui's Fort San Domingo in New Taipei, the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology in Keelung, and the 921 Earthquake Museum in Nantou.

If Chen travels to Yilan, he will visit the county's Suao Port, one of Taiwan's main fishing ports, according to Lin.

Lin also said that despite being China's chief negotiator with Taiwan, Chen will not meet with any politicians during his visit and that his upcoming trip has nothing to do with Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections in January.

The main purpose of his trip is to gain a better understanding of Taiwan's grassroots soft power by interacting with Taiwanese society and learning about Taiwan's experience with organizing farmers' and fishermen's associations, as part of China's ongoing agricultural modernization, according to Lin.

Chen has made two previous visits to Taiwan, in November 2013 and December 2014. The 66-year-old took over from Chen Yunlin as chief of ARATS in April 2013. Prior to that, he was China's minister of commerce for more than five years.

The SEF and ARATS are semi-official organizations set up by Taiwan and China, respectively, to handle technical and business exchanges between the two sides in the absence of formal relations. (By Yin Chun-chieh and Elizabeth Hsu)