Wang Yu-chi waves to reporters after visiting the Sun Yat-sen mausoleum, Feb. 12. (Photo/Wang Chueh-wei)
In an unusual part of his preparations for his historic visit to mainland China, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) minister Wang Yu-chi took to a treadmill daily to ensure he would be able to climb the hundreds of stone steps to the mausoleum of Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing, officials said Thursday.
To ensure he would be able to climb the 392 steps to the mausoleum without stopping for a rest, Wang practiced daily on his treadmill at home during the Chinese New Year holiday earlier this month, as well as poring over papers as he readied himself for his four-day trip to Nanjing and Shanghai.
The MAC minister had earlier brushed off concern among his aides that the climb might present a challenge to him, as he is not in the habit of working out.
Wang apparently did not realize the true nature of the climb until he was alerted to the fact that it is the equivalent to climbing the stairs of an 18-floor building, council officials said.
Wang, who paid his respects to the founder of the Republic of China a day earlier, later admitted to his aides that he found himself breathing somewhat heavily during the 20-minute climb, the officials said.
On the first day of his China visit Tuesday — the first-ever by an incumbent MAC chief — Wang had a formal meeting with his counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, who heads China's Taiwan Affairs Office.
The meeting, during which both men referred to each other by their formal titles, marked the first official exchange by the heads of the Taiwanese and Chinese agencies in charge of cross-strait policy.