Zhang Zhijun, Director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told a visiting delegation of media heavyweights from Taiwan Wednesday that he is worried that backlash in Taiwan to the recently signed agreement on trade in services could hamper negotiations on a proposed agreement on trade in goods. "The mainland has extended its goodwill in every way, and we do not understand why Taiwan does not appreciate us for that."
Zhang’s remarks came in discussions with a group of media executives from Taiwan led by Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Lin Jon-sane which arrived in Beijing on Tuesday.
Lin reminded Zhang that Taiwan is a pluralistic society, and such a reaction from the people is to be expected. He added that he is confident that the agreement on trade in goods between the two sides will be successfully negotiated and signed in due time.
Lin started off the meeting by lauding the news media on both sides for their role in maintaining peace across the strait. He emphasized that Taiwan is a free and democratic society that respects the rule of law and human rights. This means that the voices of all citizens are faithfully reported through the media so that the government will be able to formulate the right policies and make the right decisions.
Lin added that the media also help people make wise choices by ensuring that they are completely and accurately informed. He said it is partly due to this relationship that people in Taiwan have chosen peace over confrontation in pursuing cross-Taiwan Strait relations.
Lin noted that to date nearly a dozen Taiwanese news organizations have posted correspondents in China, while a similar number of Chinese news organizations now have representatives in Taiwan. In addition, as of August 1 last year Chinese journalists posted to Taiwan have been issued one-year multiple-entry visas to facilitate their work in covering news on the island.
Zhang concurred with Lin’s remarks, noting that the media have helped lead the way in improving relations across the strait. He cautioned, however, that there is still a need for even greater cooperation between media on either side to resolve problems that still remain in cross-strait relations.
After meeting with Zhang, the SEF delegation called on Jiang Jianguo, Deputy Director of the Broadcast Division of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. Jiang told the group that after reviewing the effectiveness of ECFA next year, the government will begin working toward opening up the publishing and printing industries on both sides of the strait.
The delegation then took the High Speed Rail to Jinzhou in Liaoning Province to attend the opening ceremony for the Liaoning and Taiwan Week exhibition in the northeast Chinese city. Zhang Zhijun and Chen Deming of ARATS traveled with the group and had dinner with them that evening.
The Taiwanese delegation is also scheduled to visit Shenyang and Dalian in Liaoning and will return to Taiwan August 18.