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Chang remains low key amid reported meetings with leaders at APEC

2018/11/18 18:55:36

Morris Chang (張忠謀)

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Nov. 18 (CNA) Taiwan's special envoy to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Morris Chang (張忠謀), remained non-committal Sunday when asked about his reported meetings with leaders of APEC member states, including prime ministers of Japan and Singapore.

Multiple Japanese media reported earlier that Chang met with Shinzo Abe for 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon as the summit was drawing to a close.

Chang also reportedly met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday on the sideline of the summit.

Asked to comment on these meetings during a press event to mark the conclusion of his trip, Chang said he would not deny the meetings took place but declined to offer any details.

He said only that he had "friendly and candid" interactions with a number of foreign leaders among them Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

The only meeting between Chang and a foreign leader during the APEC summit that the Taiwan side has made public was that on Saturday with United States Vice President Mike Pence with the release of a photo showing the two shaking hands.

According to Japanese media reports, during a 20-minute "pull-aside" meeting with Chang, Abe told the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) that Taiwan is an important partner of Japan due to their shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Abe proposed enhancing ties with Taiwan in terms of tourism and other areas, the reports said.

The Japanese prime minister also brought up the issue of ongoing strained cross-Taiwan Strait relations, saying that Tokyo hopes Taipei and Beijing will engage in peaceful and direct dialogue in an attempt to break the ice.

Peaceful cross-strait relations will be beneficial to regional peace and stability, Abe noted.

The Japanese leader again expressed gratitude to Taiwan for the assistance offered by its people and government in the wake of natural disasters, reports said.

On Chang's part, the octogenarian founder of a Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturing giant, expressed hope that Taiwan and Japan will continue to enhance bilateral trade and economic ties, reports said.

The APEC summit concluded Sunday. For the first time in the history of the APEC grouping, leaders were unable to agree on a formal written declaration amid sharp differences over trade policy, according to foreign media reports.

(By Liao Yu-yang and Joseph Yeh)