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Talk of the Day -- News digest of local media -- Office exchanges

Talk of the Day -- News digest of local media -- Office exchanges

The deputy chief of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), Zheng Lizhong, called in Beijing Thursday for exchanges of offices with its Taiwanese counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the issue:
China Times: In a meeting of ARATS directors, Zheng said the priority of the organization set up to deal with Taiwan in the absence of official ties is studying the issues to be negotiated with Taiwan and pushing for exchanges of offices with the SEF.
Meanwhile, ARATS President Chen Yunlin promised to reach out to Taiwanese -- not only those who favor the "one China" principle but also those who are skeptical about or oppose engagement with China.
Most of all, Chen said, the association will promote exchanges with Taiwan's public to win their support for peaceful development and institutionalized negotiations across the straits.(Jan. 29, 2010)
United Daily News: Taipei did not respond immediately to Zheng's calls. Liu Te-shun, deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) refused to comment on it, saying that he was not fully aware of Zheng's remarks and that the proposal has not been put on the agenda of formal negotiations.
Another MAC official said on condition of anonymity that Taiwan would reserve comment before finding out what level of offices China would like to exchange.
For example, the official said, the Taiwan-based Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and Beijing's Cross-Straits Tourism Association are set to exchange offices during the Chinese New Year holiday, in line with a proposal by Chen Yunlin in 2008.
However, the official said he did not believe Beijing is ready to exchange offices with Taiwan that are empowered to issue visas.
A visa office would suggest that Taiwan is sovereign nation, which Beijing denies, according to the official. (Jan. 29, 2010)
The Liberty Times: On the same occasion in Beijing, Zheng said his association will push for cooperation with Taiwan in the fields of natural disaster prevention and the editing of dictionaries of Chinese language and standardizing the scientific and technological lexicon.
Liu Te-shun said the current exchanges across the strait already include cultural exchanges. (Jan. 29, 2010) (By Maubo Chang)