The mainland-based Association for
Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) President Chen Yunlin (R,
Front) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman
Chiang Pin-kung (L, Front) sign agreements at a signing ceremony in
Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, on April 26, 2009. The Chinese
mainland and Taiwan signed here on Sunday afternoon agreements on
launching regular flights across the Taiwan Straits, enhancing financial
cooperation, and jointly cracking down on crimes and offering mutual
judicial assistance.(Xinhua/Sun Can) Photo
NANJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland and Taiwan signed on Sunday three agreements on opening regular flights, boosting cooperation in finance and cracking down on crime, foretelling the realization of decades-long aspiration of comprehensive, direct and two-way links between the two sides.
Chen Yunlin, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), signed the agreements in Nanjing, capital of the east Jiangsu Province.
The three agreements are: "the agreement on cross-Strait air traffic supply", "the agreement on cross-Strait financial cooperation" and "the agreement on cross-Strait mutual assistance in cracking down on crimes".
REGULAR FLIGHTS, MORE TERMINALS
Under the fresh agreements, the two sides will launch regular passenger and cargo flights across the Taiwan Strait, which indicates the normalization of cross-Strait air transport service.
Before, direct cross-Strait flight services were only provided on weekends and during four major traditional festivals.
In addition to the current 21 terminals, the mainland will open another six, including Hefei, Harbin, Nanchang, Guiyang, Ningbo and Jinan for direct passenger flights. Taiwan has eight terminals, two for regular flights and six for chartered flights.
The number of flights will increase to 270 every week from the current 108, according to the agreement.
Aviation industries on the two sides hailed the agreement as "great news" to airline companies as drastic oil price fluctuations and the international financial crisis devour their profits.
"Airline companies don't have to apply for flights every month any more, which is not only easier for aircraft dispatch, but also more convenient for passengers to plan their trips," said Lou Yongfeng, director of the Office of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs of Air China, one of the mainland's major carriers.
FINANCIAL CO-OP WITHOUT POLITICAL LIMITS
Under the agreement on financial cooperation, the two sides agreed to facilitate financial institutions to set up branches on each other's side.
The mainland and Taiwan will continue to discuss issues concerning market access of financial institutions on the either side, the agreement stated.
The two negotiating parties also agreed to offer aid on implementing financial and monetary regulatory responsibilities, expanding wide cooperation in financial areas and jointly safeguarding financial stability.
Experts said the agreement was not only a measure to cope with the financial crisis, it was also an inevitable result of the fast developing relations between the mainland and Taiwan.
Taiwan's direct investment in the mainland had totaled some 48 billion U.S. dollars since the 1980s when the two sides officially started economic cooperation.
"For so many years, financial institutions in Taiwan haven't had the opportunities to enter the mainland market. Now the time has come. They should not miss them again," said Zhao Xijun, a professor from the China Renmin University.
The two sides assured each other to effectively supervise individual financial and monetary institutions.
The agreement asked regulatory bodies on banking, securities and futures, and insurance in both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan to prepare for detailed arrangements for the agreed-upon cooperation.
The two sides also agreed to encourage commercial banks from both sides to start business on money swaps, as well as cooperation on cash anti-counterfeiting technology.
Zhao said cooperation in the capital market would bring new energy to Taiwan's stock market, which plunged more than 50 percent in the later half of 2008.
However, Wang Jianmin, Taiwan affairs researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua Sunday that he worried that some conventional political ideas might interfere with the effects of the agreement. "Unnecessary obstacles and limitations should be avoided," said Wang.
JUDICIAL CO-OP TO FIGHT CRIMES
According to the agreement on mutual assistance in judicial areas, the two sides will collaborate in civil and criminal fields and take measures to jointly crack down on crimes, with a special focus on major crimes involving kidnapping, weapons, drugs and human trafficking, and cross-Strait organized crimes.
Economic cases of fraud, money laundering, forging or falsifying currencies, and securities, would also be targeted, according to the agreement.
"The agreement, which covers the entire judicial process of civil and commercial law and the criminal law, was the first comprehensive one between judicial authorities of the mainland and Taiwan," Wang Zhenmin, head of the Law School of the prestigious Tsinghua University, told Xinhua Sunday.
"The agreement came at a time after mutual trust and understanding between the two sides had risen to a high level," said Wang, adding that it will protect, promote and regulate the exchanges in economy, civil affairs and other aspects.
The two sides also agreed to exchange crime-related information and help each other investigate cases and collect evidence. Each side is also responsible for helping the other to identify witnesses, seize and repatriate criminals and suspects.
By January 2007, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan had returned to the other side 38,936 criminals, criminal suspects and people guilty of illegal entry since 1990, when the Kinmen Agreement was signed between Red Cross organizations across the Taiwan Strait.
The two sides also reached a historic consensus on allowing mainland companies to invest in Taiwan.
Experts on cross-Strait relations said this consensus on mainland investment in Taiwan marks the ending of the one-way flow of capital from island to the mainland, and is a basic indicator of the normalization of economic and trade ties between the two sides.
Chang Wu-ueh, director of the Graduate Institute of China Studies of Tamkang University in Taiwan, said that this agreement is a milestone which provides basic guarantee for the two sides to establish comprehensive, two-way and interactive economic and trade relations.
Kao Koong-lian, vice chairman and secretary-general of SEF, told reporters at a press conference following the agreement signing ceremony that the Taiwan side would make public "relevant regulations" concerning mainland investment.
This was the third round of talks between ARATS and SEF in less than a year.
Founded in 1991 and 1990 respectively, the ARATS and SEF were authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-straits exchanges.
The two organizations agreed to meet twice a year on the mainland and Taiwan alternately after negotiations resumed last June following almost 10 years of suspension.
The two sides have signed six agreements since last June on weekend charter flights, tourism, direct shipping, air transport, postal services and food safety.
NANJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Top negotiators from
the mainland and Taiwan said here Sunday that they will work out an economic
cooperation mechanism to cope with the global financial crisis which is exerting
an enormous negative impact on economies of the both sides.
The two sides should continue to map out an
interactive cooperation system on economic, cultural and social development and
put them into practice one by one, said Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's
Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), in talks with his mainland counterpart Chen
Yunlin in Nanjing, Jiangsu, on Sunday morning. Full story
NANJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Negotiators from the Chinese
mainland and Taiwan on Saturday stressed the significance of enhanced
cross-Straits economic exchanges and cooperation amid the international
Zheng Lizhong, deputy chief of the mainland-based
Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), said the
international financial turmoil has brought new challenges to economic
development across the Taiwan Straits. Full story
NANJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Taiwan's Straits
Exchange Foundation (SEF) Vice Chairman and Secretary-General Kao Koong-lian on
Saturday expressed his condolences to the two tourists from the Chinese mainland
who were killed in a crane crash accident in Taipei.
He said he was sorry that the accident in
Taipei led to casualties of mainland tourists. Full story
NANJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Taiwan's chief negotiator on cross-straits
relations Chiang Pin-kung arrived here Saturday morning for a new round of
Chiang, chairman of the island's Straits Exchange
Foundation (SEF), is scheduled to hold talks with the mainland's Association for
Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) President Chen Yunlin on
Sunday. Full story