. China News .

Chinese man takes home-made raft to Taiwan democracy
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Dec 9, 2011

A Chinese man who claimed he wanted to experience Taiwan's democracy first hand was arrested after he tried to reach the island on a home-made styrofoam float, officials said Friday.

Guo Zhiyong, 35, from the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, was caught Wednesday as he came ashore on Taiwanese-controlled Kinmen island a few kilometres (miles) from China, the local county government said in a statement.

Guo said he had taken a train from Xinjiang to Xiamen city on China's southeast coast, the start of a five-hour journey on the styrofoam float, the statement said.

He claimed that he wanted to visit Taiwan because he admired the island's democracy and argued he was not entering illegally, since he considered the two sides to be the same country.

The statement did not say whether Guo belongs to any of the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. It also did not specify what his fate was likely to be, but Taiwan generally sends illegal immigrants from mainland China back home.

Taiwan presidential hopeful eyes China visit
Taipei (AFP) Dec 9, 2011 - Taiwan's independent presidential candidate James Soong said Friday he intends to become the first Taiwanese president to visit China if he is elected in January 2012 polls.

Soong, a former heavyweight of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party, told reporters that he hoped to go to the mainland as president-elect to promote goodwill and peace between the two sides.

He also pledged to host conferences to discuss China issues if elected to ensure that the public will have a say in his policy-making process. He did not specify who should attend these conferences.

Soong is considered unlikely to win without the backing of a major political party, but observers said he could threaten the incumbent Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT.

Ma, who took office in 2008, is seeking a second and final four-year term and has been locked in a tight race against Tsai Ing-wen of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Soong still commands considerable loyalty among many KMT members and his candidacy could potentially cost Ma enough votes to lose the election, they said.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, although the two sides have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.

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US deputy energy secretary to pay rare Taiwan visit
Taipei (AFP) Dec 7, 2011
US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman is to visit Taiwan next week, making him one of the highest ranking US government officials to visit the island in recent years. Poneman is scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Monday as part of a tour of Asia, according to a statement from the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy on the island. He will meet President Ma Ying-jeou ... read more

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