Liberalisation of regional telecommunications markets is expected to be the main topic at this week's closed-door meetings of the the 18-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The Directorate General of Telecommunications, Taiwan's regulatory body and the host of the event, has not made public the meeting agenda of the APEC telecommunications working group, but sources say that the US delegation is expected to call on regional authorities to speed up liberalisation of the telecommunications market.
In addition, the delegation from the People's Republic of China is expected to hold unofficial talks with its Taiwanese counterparts on the issue of reopening direct communications over the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has enforced a ban on direct communications with mainland China since 1949, when the Communists won a civil war that forced the Nationalist government to retreat to the island. Due to the ban, telephone calls between the two sides are routed through third parties, such as Hong Kong, Japan or Singapore.
APEC consists of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, the PRC, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the US.