Retired Chinese official to pay respects to former SEF chief

In this undated file photo, Chen Yunlin, right, then-president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Chiang Pin-kung, left, then-chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), pose for photos after exchanging agreements. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) – Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), a retired Chinese official once in charge of contact with Taiwan, will visit Taiwan to pay his respects to his counterpart, former Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), who died recently at the age of 85.

The Taipei-based SEF will assist with Chen’s visit, former SEF Secretary-General Kao Wen-cheng (高文誠) said Saturday, adding that a precise date and schedule have yet to be determined.

A memorial in honor of Chiang is currently being held at the SEF building until Dec. 21, Kao said, adding that Chiang’s family has already expressed hope that Chen could arrive by then.

Chiang, former SEF chairman from 2008-2012, died Dec. 10 of multiple organ failure at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei. At the time of his death, he was head of the Straits Economic and Cultural Interchange Association.

A statement from the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office confirmed Friday that Chen, who is the former president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits would visit Taiwan in a private capacity and as a friend of the late Kuomintang official.

Meanwhile, deputy chief and spokesman for Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said Saturday that it will work with the SEF to assist with Chen’s visit.

The MAC respects the wishes of Chiang’s family and is ready to offer any necessary assistance, Chiu added.

By Miao Zong-han and Ko Lin