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Top Chinese negotiator arrives in Taiwan for 8-day visit (update)

2014/12/09 14:32:22

Chen Deming (left)

Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) China's top negotiator with Taiwan, Chen Deming, on Tuesday began his first visit to Taiwan since the Nov. 29 local elections shook up the political make-up of the island.

Arriving at Taoyuan International Airport amid tight security, Chen was greeted by a small group of anti-Chinese protesters as well as a welcoming party.

A total of 150 police officers were deployed to ensure the safety of Chen, who is the president of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and his delegation.

Chen told the media that he will use the opportunity to take a look at some places and meet with some friends that he did not have time to see during his last visit earlier this year.

He said his visits will mainly focus on Taiwan's agricultural, biotechnology, tourism and senior citizen welfare sectors.

[Chen speaks with reporters at the airport.]

Chen was scheduled to head to Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and a rental residential complex built by Chang Gung for senior citizens in nearby Taoyuan later Tuesday.

It marks the first visit by Chinese officials responsible for cross-strait relations since the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) suffered heavy losses in the Nov. 29 elections.

There is now much talk that the KMT, which has worked to improve cross-strait ties over the past six years under President Ma Ying-jeou, could be replaced as the ruling party by the China-wary Democratic Progressive Party in the presidential and legislative elections set for early 2016.

Chen's delegation will be in Taiwan for eight days, during which time their activities will consist mainly of visits around the island instead of official talks, even though Chen's counterpart Lin Join-sane, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) will host a dinner in honor of the guests.

Chen last visited Taiwan in February for the latest round of official SEF-ARATS talks. The two organizations handle bilateral ties on behalf of the two governments in the absence of official relations.

(By Bien Chin-feng, Chiu Chun-chin, Jay Chen and Y.F. Low)