Former China envoy to visit Taiwan for counterpart’s funeral

Date and schedule for Chen Yunlin trip still to be arranged: China

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Chen Yunlin (left) with the late Chiang Pin-kung.

Chen Yunlin (left) with the late Chiang Pin-kung. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A retired Chinese official once in charge of contacts with Taiwan, Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), will soon visit the island country again to pay respects to his counterpart, former Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), who died at the age of 85 on December 10.

As head of the semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), Chen was the highest-ranking official to date to visit Taiwan in November 2008. His trip to Taipei was the focus of massive protests, including a siege of the five-star hotel where his delegation was staying.

A statement from the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office Friday said Chen, 77, would visit Taiwan in a private capacity and as a “friend” of the late Kuomintang official. A precise date and schedule were still being discussed with Chiang’s relatives, the Central News Agency reported.

The choice of a long-retired official to travel to Taiwan on the occasion of Chiang’s passing away showed that Beijing did not want anybody in a current position to make any contact with the Democratic Progressive Party administration, commentators said.