WASHINGTON (CNA) – Meetings between the representatives of the United States and Taiwan at next month’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Vietnam are expected to take place based on “past practice,” a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

Although the schedules for bilateral meetings have not been set, “past practice is probably a good indicator of future events,” said Matt Matthews, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

Matthews, who is also the U.S. ambassador to APEC, said he believes whoever represents the United States at the APEC ministerial meeting, “similar kinds of meetings will take place.” The U.S. diplomat made the comment at a conference held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in response to a question on whether there will be a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Taiwan’s representative James Soong (宋楚瑜) at APEC.

On Thursday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) appointed Soong, chairman of the opposition People First Party, as her special envoy to the 2017 APEC Leaders’ Summit, to be held Nov. 10-11 in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang.

In 2016, Soong also served as Tsai’s envoy to the APEC summit in Lima, Peru, and he had a private meeting there with then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. 

By Rita Cheng and Y.F. Low