Mainland, Taiwan organizations hold first talks in 9 years
www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-12 09:08:49   Print
ARATS and SEF Thursday convened  their first talks in nine years.
The two are authorized non-governmental organizations engaged in the talks.
Talks between the two sides were suspended in 1999.

Chen Yunlin (R), Chairman of Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), shakes hands with Chiang Pin-kun, Chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Beijing, capital of China, June 12, 2008. ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin and SEF chairman Chiang Pin-kun started their talks here at around 9:00 a.m. Thursday.

Chen Yunlin (R), Chairman of Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), shakes hands with Chiang Pin-kun, Chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Beijing, China, June 12, 2008. ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin and SEF chairman Chiang Pin-kun started their talks in Beijing at around 9:00 a.m. Thursday.   (Xinhua Photo)
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    by Xinhua writers Dong Lixi and Fu Shuangqi  

    BEIJING, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The chairmen of the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on Thursday convened their first talks in nine years.

    ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin and SEF chairman Chiang Pin-kun started their talks at around 9 a.m. in Beijing. Established in 1991 and 1990, respectively, the ARATS and SEF are authorized non-governmental organizations (NGO) engaged in talks on issues related to exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.

    "As wished by people on the two sides, the talks resumed today after nearly 10 years' suspension," Chen said.

    "We feel the great responsibility of this glorious mission and we must spare no effort in realizing the aspirations of people on the two sides."

    Echoing Chen, Chiang said the two organizations had established mutual trust after recent benign contacts and would play an important role as a bridge for cross-Strait consultation.

    "Many problems in economic, cultural and social fields need to be addressed after a long time was idled away," Chen said.

    Both sides expressed hope that ARATS and SEF could reach consensus and sign an agreement as soon as possible during the talks.

    During their talks, Chen proposed to strengthen the exchange of visits between ARATS and SEF personnel and carry out economic, cultural and social visits at various levels.

    Chiang agreed to conduct regular personnel exchanges and actively promote the visits of the two organizations' officials in the name of the two organizations.

    Chen and Chiang agreed to resume the emergency liaison officer system to effectively handle emergency cases related to life and property safety of the people on both sides.

    The two sides agreed to set up representative offices to each other's side and Chen accepted his Taiwan counterpart's invitation to visit the island this year.

    Chiang proposed to establish more smooth channels for timely exchanges of information. Chen said he would carefully consider Chiang's suggestions.

    "In a gradual approach of economy before politics, the easy problems before the difficult ones, the two sides need practical outline topics for consultation in the near term," he said.

    In 1992, the two groups held negotiations in Hong Kong and reached the famed "1992 Consensus."

    In 1993, ARATS chairman Wang Daohan and SEF chairman Koo Chen-fu held talks in Singapore in the first public meeting between high-level figures in the name of non-governmental organization (NGO) leaders since 1949.

    Chen on Thursday praised contributions made by the two late chairmen and vowed to carry on their unfinished tasks.

    Talks between the two sides were suspended in 1999 after Taiwan's leader at the time, Li Teng-hui, proposed his "special state-to-state" model for cross-Strait relations.

    Chen and Chiang's talks in the morning were followed by consultations on cross-Strait weekend charted flights and mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan. The two sides also planned to sign related agreements on June 13.

    REGULAR CHARTERED FLIGHTS

    After a meeting between Chen and Chiang Thursday morning, Sun Yafu and Li Bingcai, ARATS vice chairmen, discussed the issue of opening regular non-stop chartered flights on weekends and faster cargo transport services across the Taiwan Strait with Kao Koong-lian, SEF vice chairman and secretary-general.

    In 2003, the mainland and Taiwan agreed to offer chartered flights during the Spring Festival, China's major festival for family reunions, to help Taiwan business people working on the mainland return home.

    The service suspended in 2004 due to a disagreement over operation details between the two sides. It was resumed a year later after an agreement was reached to allow both mainland and Taiwan airlines to operate direct non-stop flights.

    In 2006, the charted-flights service was expanded to three other major Chinese festivals, the Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival.

    Residents and industries from the both sides have called for regular chartered flights on weekends and faster cargo transport services, to cope with increasing cross-strait exchanges.

    ALLOWING MAINLAND TOURISTS TRAVELING TO TAIWAN

    Sun and Li discussed the issue of mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait with Kao Thursday.

    As early as May 2005, the mainland had announced plans to allow mainland tourists to visit Taiwan. In the following years, the mainland had strived to negotiate with related Taiwan NGOs. It even drafted regulations on allowing mainland tourists to travel to Taiwan.

    However, then Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian did not establish a non-governmental organization for technical consultations till Oct. 2006.

    Since then, several technical consultations had been held without major progress due to political obstacles set by Chen.

    After Ma Ying-jeou took office as Taiwan leader, he took an active attitude towards the issue and proposed to allow in mainland tourists by July.

Progress expected in talks between Chinese mainland, Taiwan

    BEIJING, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Talks between the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) will produce practical results, said Chiao Jen-ho, former SEF vice chairman and secretary-general, on Thursday. Full story

Mainland, Taiwan organizations to exchange representative offices 

    BEIJING, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) and its Taiwan counterpart, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), on Thursday agreed to set up representative offices to each other's side.

    Pang Chien-kuo, SEF deputy secretary-general, told the press here the agreement was made at the meeting between ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin and SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kun Thursday morning. Full story

Mainland, Taiwan hold travel talks

    BEIJING, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland and Taiwan negotiators started talks on mainland tourists' traveling to Taiwan here on Thursday afternoon.

    Sun Yafu and Li Bingcai, vice chairmen of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), discussed the issue with Kao Koong-lian, vice chairman and secretary-general of Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF). Full story

Mainland's Taiwan affairs chief meets Taiwan delegation

    BEIJING, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, met Taiwan's chief negotiator Chiang Pin-kun Thursday afternoon at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Full story

SEF chairman Chiang Pin-kun pays homage at Sun Yat-sen memorial

    BEIJING, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Chiang Pin-kun, the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman, paid homage at the tomb containing personal effects of Kuomintang (KMT) founder Sun Yat-sen here on Thursday.

    It was Chiang's second trip to the site. He previously visited in 2005 when he was the then KMT vice chairman. Full story

Mainland chief negotiator to visit Taiwan

    BEIJING, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Chen Yunlin, chairman of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), accepted his Taiwan counterpart's invitation to visit the island this year.

    Chen accepted the offer during his talks with Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on Thursday. The time for Chen's visit is not specified. Full story

Mainland, Taiwan sit together for weekend chartered flights 

    BEIJING, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland and Taiwan began negotiations on weekend chartered flights here Thursday five years after the service was adopted for major festivals.

    Sun Yafu and Li Bingcai, vice chairmen of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), discussed the issue with Kao Koong-lian, vice chairman and secretary-general of Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF). Full story

Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation chairman arrives in Beijing

    BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) -- A delegation headed by the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kun arrived in Beijing around 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday to attend talks with the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).

    It will be the first talks between the SEF and ARATS after they resumed contact after a suspension of nine years.  Full story

Taiwan-based SEF chairman departs for talks with mainland counterpart 

    BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) -- A delegation headed by the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kun left Taipei for Beijing on Wednesday morning to attend talks with the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).

    It will be the first talks between the SEF and ARATS after they resumed their talks after a suspension of nine years.  Full story

Editor: Jiang Yuxia
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