Taiwan: Chinese Envoy Arrives
China's senior envoy to Taiwan, Zheng Lizhong, led a group of negotiators to the island Friday [17 April 2009] for preparatory talks to set the stage for the third cross-strait summit planned later this month [April 2009].
Zheng, vice chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) and his 20-member delegation were whisked to Taipei from Taoyuan International Airport amid a protest by a small group of pro-independence activists.
Shouting 'Long live Taiwan independence,' the protesters said the Chinese group was not welcome in Taiwan because the Chinese government treated Taiwan as its subordinate. They were later dispersed by police.
Later in Taipei, Zhang said the major purpose of the group's visit was to put the final touches on preparations for the upcoming cross-strait summit.
'We are here to attend the preparatory talks to facilitate the signing of three agreements in the third summit between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait,' he said in a welcoming ceremony at a plush Taipei hotel.
Taiwan and China, rivals since they split at the end of a civil war in 1949, are expected to hold their third summit in the Chinese city of Nanjing for five days from April 25 . The one-day preparatory meeting will be held in Taipei Saturday [18 April 2009] to finalize details ahead of the summit. Zheng and his group will leave Taipei Sunday [19 April 2009].