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SEF, ARATS see their roles remaining strong (update)
Central News Agency
2014-02-26 06:09 PM
Taipei, Feb. 26 (CNA) The roles of the two intermediary bodies across the Taiwan Strait will remain strong in ties between Taiwan and China in the future, the deputy heads of both organizations said confidently on Wednesday. The Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and its Taiwan counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), were preparing for their 10th round of high-level talks the following day, when two agreements on meteorological exchanges and earthquake monitoring are expected to be signed.

At the opening of the preparatory meeting, ARATS Deputy President Zheng Lizhong said the functions of his organization and the SEF will continue to remain strong even as the two sides work toward establishing regular communication between official government bodies. "(SEF and the ARATS) will continue to discuss administrative matters and handle negotiations between the two sides," said Zheng.

SEF Deputy Chairman Chang Hsien-yao, who co-chaired the opening of the talks with Zheng, credited exchanges between SEF and ARATS with laying the foundation for the institutionalization of talks between Taiwan and China. He said he is confident that the roles of the two intermediary bodies will remain strong, if not stronger. The comments came after government ministers from Taiwan and China held a breakthrough formal meeting in Nanjing early this month, giving rise to speculation on whether discussions between the semi-official SEF and ARATS -- dubbed "white gloves" because they allow indirect contact between the two sides -- would be superseded by official talks. During the Nanjing meeting, the heads of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council and its counterpart, the Taiwan Affairs Office -- the top cross-strait policy planners on each side -- agreed to establish a regular mechanism to facilitate quick and efficient communication. Wednesday's preparatory meeting was scheduled to finalize details on the pacts, expected to be signed by SEF Chairman Lin Join-sane and ARATS President Chen Deming the following day. Under the terms of the meteorology and seismic data pacts, the two sides will organize their own task forces and begin convening meetings on data-sharing, personnel exchanges and technological cooperation in related fields. Both Taiwan and China have endured devastating natural disasters, Chang noted, saying that the new pacts will allow both sides to work closely on a regular basis and react promptly in the event of an emergency. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)

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