February 2, 2014

Foreign Pool - Greeting, Feast, and Luau

White House Press Office Sun, Nov 13, 2011 at 3:01 AM

Reply-To: White House Press Office 
To: Ching-Yi Chang

From: Ching-Yi Chang
Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2011 2:57 AM
Subject: Foreign Pool - Greeting, Feast, and Luau

Tonight’s APEC leaders arrival ceremony, dinner toast, and reception performance went well as planned. A few interesting observations from your foreign pooler today.

During the arrival ceremony, unexpectedly, the leader of Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Lien Chan, came out first. Although the tensions between China and Taiwan is eased for recent three years, and both sides even signed the FTA called ECFA; however, due to America’s one China policy, Taiwan has limited access to the regional organizations, APEC is one of them, so the arrangement to have Mr. Lien came out first might have its special political implication by the POTUS. According to an anonymous source told the pooler, the arrangement is to help pro-China party in Taiwan wins the presidential election next year.  

Also, during the arrival, leaders can have their translators joining the brief conversations with the POTUS and FLOTUS. But only when China’s President Hu came out from the gate, the POTUS first time asked his own translator, who speaks amazingly fluent Mandarin with Beijing accent, come to join the conversation, so there were two translators when the POTUS greeted Chinese leader. The detail shows that the POTUS manages even detailed issue with China carefully. 

And during the dinner toast, the POTUS sat next to Vietnamese and Singaporean leaders. Singapore is the one and only Southeast Asian country that has signed the FTA with the U.S. for almost a decade. Now it’s one of the negotiation members in TPP. Later on, during the reception performance, Singaporean PM, Lee Hsien Loong, again sat next to the POTUS to watch “Luau”. The POTUS did give an indirect explanation before Luau that two years ago, it was announced in Singapore that the U.S. would hold  the APEC Summit in 2011. On the other hand, Vietnam is one of the TPP negotiation member as well, though it faces many hurdles to join the “high standard FTA”, TPP.  

Although Russia sets to hold the 2012 APEC Summit, Russia President Medvedev was assigned to sit at the other end of a different table during the dinner, and he sat next to Chinese President Hu. One more thing, although Mr. Hu and Mr. Lien did have a meeting yesterday, the fourth time they met during APEC Summits, but they weren't arranged to sit together, instead, Mr. Lien was arranged to sit next to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang.

Ching-Yi Chang
White House Correspondent
Hong Kong Phoenix Satellite TV

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