Taiwan rep interacts with foreign leaders at APEC summit

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Nov. 17 (CNA) Morris Chang (???), Taiwan's representative to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit, met and interacted with other leaders attending the annual event on Saturday.

Chang met with these leaders ahead of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Dialogue held on Saturday afternoon PNG time.

The leaders were picked up from a cruise ship, where the APEC CEO Summit was held and transported to APEC Haus, where the ABAC Dialogue took place.

After being received by PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill the APEC leaders posed for group photos before attending the ABAC Dialogue, and the photo session created a good opportunity for Chang to meet his counterparts.

Among the foreign leaders were Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who shook hands with Chang before the group photos were taken.

Standing between Lee and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Chang was fourth from the right in the second row, while Chinese President Xi Jinping was to the left of the front row. Chang and Xi did not interact with each other during the photo session.

Accompanied by Jan Hung-tze (???), Taiwan's representative to ABAC and chairman of the ABAC Digital Innovation Working Group, Chang will attend later in the day the ABAC Dialogue fifth group meeting with Japan, Malaysia, Mexico and Singapore.

Afterwards, Chang will attend a dialogue with APEC business leaders and representatives from Pacific Island countries.

President Tsai Ing-wen (???) picked Chang, founder of the world's largest contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), as Taiwan's representative to the APEC summit, praising him as the best choice.

Despite being a full member of the 21-member inter-governmental forum since 1991, Taiwan's presidents are traditionally prohibited from attending the leaders' summit due to China's opposition and instead send a proxy in their place.

This is the second time Chang has represented Taiwan at APEC, the first being in 2006 under former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (???). Chang arrived in Port Moresby on Friday.

The local media has paid close attention to how Chang interacts with other leaders at the APEC summit and what messages he will convey to his counterparts during his stay in Port Moresby.

Earlier Saturday, Chang and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence held a brief meeting on the sidelines of the APEC CEO Summit, officials from Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

However, the officials did not disclose what Chang and Pence talked about. Pence did not attend the ABAC Dialogue, while MOFA said on its twitter page that the talks between Chang and Pence are expected to "strengthen regional connections in promoting inclusive growth & shaping the digital future."

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (???) said his ministry would do its best to ensure Taiwan's representative meets with his American and Chinese counterparts at this year's APEC leaders' summit.

Wu said then that Chang could raise Taiwan-U.S. trade and investment issues with Pence and extend "goodwill gestures" to Xi, without elaborating on what that might entail.

Before Chang departed for the APEC summit, he said he would propose initiating bilateral or multilateral talks under the APEC framework to address challenges in the digital age.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel