Taiwan again sends PFP Chairman James Soong to APEC summit

Soong will serve as President Tsai Ing-wen's special representative in Da Nang, Vietnam

James Soong returning from the 2016 APEC summit with his daughter. (By Central News Agency)

James Soong meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin at last year's APEC summit in Lima, Peru. (By Associated Press)

President Tsai Ing-wen presented James Soong as her APEC representative Thursday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) will represent Taiwan at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang next month, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced Thursday.

Because of pressure from China, presidents of Taiwan have not been able to attend annual APEC summits in person, but have been forced to choose a representative, mostly economic officials or former vice presidents.

Despite representing a president from the “green” pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, Soong, 75,  is unlikely to be rejected by China since he is seen as a key member of the “blue” side of Taiwan politics, which emphasizes warmer relations with Beijing and rejects outright independence for the self-ruled island.

Since Tsai assumed power in May last year after a landslide election victory, China’s attitude toward Taiwan has been frosty, with the communist power raising international pressure on the island.

At their joint news conference Thursday afternoon, Tsai said Taiwan was willing to show goodwill and engage in positive interaction with China under the APEC framework.

The APEC summit in Da Nang takes place on November 10 and 11, and will be attended by leaders and representatives of an estimated 21 nations, including China’s President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, while it will be the first APEC summit for United States President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.