DA NANG, Vietnam (CNA) – Taiwan’s special envoy to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) summit arrived in Da Nang, Vietnam on Tuesday without an important member of his delegation because of visa problems.
James Soong (宋楚瑜) is expected to meet privately with some of the leaders of APEC countries here, and it has been confirmed that he will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on the sidelines of the summit on Saturday or Sunday, according to one of Soong’s aides.
Soong, a veteran politician who chairs the opposition People First Party (PFP), is also hopeful of meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) during the summit.
He said Monday that Taiwan is keen to get along well with China and that peace and stability are desired by both sides and would “once again express this view” if the opportunity to meet with Xi arises.
Before departing from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport just before noon, Soong pledged to “let the world see Taiwan’s efforts and sincerity” during his mission at the high-profile meeting of APEC economies’ leaders to be held Nov. 10-11.
The delegation will let the world see that Taiwan is indispensable to the global economic development, he said.
Taiwan’s presidents are unable to attend the meeting due to China’s objections and have to appoint envoys to the leaders’ summit in their place. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) chose Soong as Taiwan’s envoy for the second consecutive year.
Soong arrived in Da Nang, however, without a key member of his delegation to the APEC summit, delegation spokesman and chief adviser John Deng (鄧振中).
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said Deng has yet to get a visa from Vietnam due to delays in Vietnamese administrative procedures and was therefore unable to join Taiwan’s delegation on Tuesday’s flight as scheduled.
Lee said the ministry was still trying to sort out the problem.
Asked about the incident, Deng, a minister without portfolio, told CNA by phone that he was surprised he was unable to get the visa.
Deng said he has participated in annual APEC events and related activities many times over the past few years and had no clue why he could not get a visa this time.
Taiwan joined APEC under the name Chinese Taipei in 1991 and has played an active role in the annual meetings, seeking to enhance interactions with the other 20 member economies.
By Elaine Hou, Lu Hsin-hui, Chiu Chun-chin and Elizabeth Hsu