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U.S. looks forward to Ex-ROC vice president's APEC participation

U.S. looks forward to Ex-ROC vice president's APEC participation

The United States looks forward to former Republic of China Vice President Lien Chan's participation in an upcoming informal leadership summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, a U.S. State Department official said Thursday.
The official, however, declined to comment on whether the participation of Lien -- the highest-ranking former ROC official ever to attend an APEC leadership meeting -- symbolizes a breakthrough for Taiwan and progress in cross-Taiwan Strait relations.
Lien will attend this year's Nov. 22-23 summit in Lima, Peru, on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou.
APEC is one of the few international organizations that admits both Taiwan and China as members. Due to China's opposition, Taiwan's president is barred from attending the annual informal leadership meeting in person and instead has to name a special envoy who attends on his behalf.
Taiwan was represented at the first APEC leaders summit, held in Seattle in 1993, by Vincent Siew, then-chairman of Taiwan's Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development. Siew is now vice president.
In the last two APEC forums, Taiwan was represented by prominent business leaders -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Chairman Morris Chang and Acer Group Chairman Stan Shih, respectively.
Also Thursday, Randy Schriver, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told CNA in Washington that he is pleased to see Lien's participation in the next summit.
Schriver said he hopes the United States -- the host of the 2010 APEC forum -- will invite Ma to attend that event in person.
His view echoed that of Douglas Paal, former Taipei Office director of the American Institute in Taiwan, who has proposed that Ma seek to participate in the APEC summit under a "proper" title.
Paal, currently vice president of the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, predicted during a visit to Taiwan earlier this month that Ma's participation in the summit could be possible in the coming two to three years thanks to his efforts to improve cross-Taiwan Strait relations through a "modus vivendi" approach that advocates a "diplomatic truce" with China.
According to Paal, Ma's approach has received good responses from China, as seen in the postponement of Paraguay's plan to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.