China Focus: Mainland, Taiwan negotiators meet ahead of talks
                 English.news.cn | 2014-02-26 21:52:34 | Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

TAIPEI, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chief negotiators from the mainland and Taiwan met on Wednesday ahead of a new round of talks concerning meteorological and seismic cooperation.

Chen Deming, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) arrived in Taipei Wednesday noon and met with Lin Join-sane, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), at the Grand Hotel, where the two will hold talks on Thursday.

The talks, the tenth round between ARATS and SEF since 2008, are expected to result in the signing of two agreements on meteorological and earthquake monitoring.

The two agreements will center around disaster prevention and relief with the aim of protecting people's lives and properties, Lin said at an inaugural speech.

With 19 deals signed in previous talks, the signing of the two new agreements will give the two sides "21 expressways for cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation," Lin said.

Chen said he was confident about cross-Strait relations while realizing the urgency of the tasks that lie ahead.

"Chairman Lin and I are on a lofty mission to cement family ties and realize the dream shared by the two sides," Chen said.

The talks come in the wake of a historic meeting this month between the mainland's Taiwan affairs chief Zhang Zhijun and his Taiwanese counterpart Wang Yu-chi.

Chang Hsien-yao, vice chairman of the SEF, suggested that the launch of the official communication would not weaken the role of the two organizations in handling institutionalized negotiations.

Instead, such institutionalized negotiations would play a more important role in future cross-Strait cooperation, Chang said.

DISASTER HANDLING

Chang hailed the significance of the two agreements, saying meteorological and seismic disasters have wreaked havoc in both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, and that the new agreements would signal a greater focus on people's livelihood.

The two agreements will strengthen cooperation, facilitate information sharing, raise early-warning capacity and save lives, he said.

Zheng Lizhong, executive vice president of the ARATS, said the two sides reached agreement during this round of negotiation "in an extremely short period of time and in a highly efficient manner."

"Non-governmental cooperation on improving meteorological and seismic disaster response has been going on for 30 years, accumulating much experience," he said.

Chen visited Taipei's Palace Museum on Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to meet Wang Yu-chi after Thursday's talks.

On Friday morning, Chen will visit panda cub Yuan Zai, born to a pair of giant pandas given as a goodwill gift to Taiwan by the Chinese mainland in 2008, at Taipei Zoo before heading back to Beijing on Friday afternoon.

Founded in 1991 and 1990, respectively, the ARATS and SEF are authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Strait negotiations and the signing of agreements.

The 19 agreements they have signed since 2008 covered a wide range of fields including transportation, finance, judiciary and medical cooperation.

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