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Kinmen Agreement monumental in cross-strait ties: MAC

Kinmen Agreement monumental in cross-strait ties: MAC

Taipei, Sept. 10 (CNA) The Kinmen Agreement, a landmark pact that Taiwan and China concluded 20 years ago amid a political impasse, laid a solid foundation for systematic civilian exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, a ranking Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said Friday.
The agreement, concluded on Taiwan's outlying island of Kinmen in 1990 mainly to facilitate the repatriation of Chinese stowaways and illegal immigrants, now serves to remind the leaders of the two sides to shelve disputes and create a win-win atmosphere, with the people's well-being the priority, said MAC Vice Chairman Liu Te-shun.
Liu described as "an extraordinary achievement" the conclusion of the agreement by the Red Cross societies of Taiwan and China 20 years ago at a time of deep political mistrust in the absence of official contacts.
The agreement was inked by C.V. Chen, the incumbent president of Taiwan's Red Cross Society who at that time served as the organization's secretary-general, and Chen's Chinese counterpart Han Changlin, according to Liu.
Reflecting on the twists and turns of Taiwan-China relations over the past 20 years, Liu said bilateral relations had been stagnant or had even regressed until President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in May 2008.
The two sides' intermediary bodies -- Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) -- resumed systematic consultations after Ma took office and concluded 14 agreements and one consensus, which helped extend the spirit of the Kinmen Agreement, Liu said.
The recent conclusion of the cross-Strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) showcased the initiative of "shelving political disputes that cannot be solved at present and making considerations of the people's well-being the top priority, " he said.
Meanwhile, Liu said the Kinmen Agreement was not superseded by an agreement on judicial mutual assistance that was signed between Taiwan and China in April this year.
Instead, he said, cross-Strait judicial mutual assistance efforts operated on the basis of the Kinmen Agreement have become even more flexible and efficient than before.
On the administration's China policy, Liu said its efforts are not restricted to improving relations between the two sides.
"Our policy is to extend cross-strait reconciliation to closer international relations that will in turn help boost prosperity and development in East Asia," Liu said.
(By Garfie Li and Deborah Kuo)