TAIPEI (XINHUA, THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Mr Chiang Pin-kung, former vice chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) party and Taiwan's former point man for talks in cross-strait ties, passed away on Monday (Dec 10) in Taipei, the KMT said in a statement.
Mr Chiang was also the former chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and former vice president of the Taiwan-based council of the summit for entrepreneurs across the Taiwan Strait.
Born in 1932, the KMT heavyweight had also held several high-level positions within the government, including vice president of the Legislative Yuan from 2002 to 2005, and Minister of Economic Affairs from between 1993 and 1996.
Mr Chiang was rushed to Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei on Saturday (Dec 8) evening after collapsing suddenly at dinner in a hotel restaurant in Taipei.
According to various sources, Mr Chiang regained consciousness after undergoing emergency treatment but remained in the hospital's intensive care unit.
As of press time, Mackay has not any further information on the matter, citing respect for the patient's privacy.
Founded in 1991 and 1990, the Chinese mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (Arats) and SEF are authorised by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Strait affairs.
Mr Chiang led a KMT delegation to visit the mainland in March 2005, and in June 2008 he led an SEF delegation to hold talks with Arats in the mainland.
Heads of the Arats and SEF conducted eight talks and signed 18 agreements to develop cross-Strait relations when Mr Chiang served as SEF chairman.
He stepped down as SEF chairman in September 2012.