A former senior US diplomat has cautioned that cross-strait tensions could derail a US congressional vote to grant the mainland permanent normal trade relations. Nicholas Platt, former US ambassador to the Philippines and Pakistan, warned that incidents arising from the Taiwan elections could complicate the vote. But Mr Platt said the mainland's accession to the World Trade Organisation was inevitable. 'It will go through. What we're really talking about is whether it is this year or next year.' Mr Platt was in Shanghai as president of the Asia Society to announce that Premier Zhu Rongji would present the opening address at the society's international corporate conference in the city in May. The event is expected to attract more than 600 business executives and government officials from around the world. Other speakers at the conference will include US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, Indian Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Information Technology Pramond Mahajan and South Korean Finance Minister Lee Hun-jai. The selection of Shanghai for the conference's location, Mr Platt said, was a reflection of the city's 'central role in Asia's economic and business future'.