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Taiwanese, Chinese cross-strait policymakers to meet in Kinmen

Taiwanese, Chinese cross-strait policymakers to meet in Kinmen

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) Taiwan's minister of mainland affairs is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart in Kinmen, a Taiwan-controlled island group off southern China, next month for talks on issues including four controversial new flight routes Beijing intends to open in March. China's Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (???) will visit Kinmen in early February said Wang Yu-chi (???), head of the Mainland Affairs Council, while answering questions from reporeters after attending a hearing of the legislative Internal Administration Committee Wednesday. Wang, however, did not specify when Zhang will come but said that "the date of the visit is almost certain" and that they are now waiting for final confirmation from China. Asked about Zhang's itinerary, Wang replied that Zhang will probably spend three days and two nights in Kinmen. Wang is expected to convey the Taiwan government's firm stance that it will not accept China's plan to open a new north-south route, M503, which hugs the median line of the Taiwan Strait, and three east-west routes -- W121, W122 and W123 -- that connect with it, and to begin using them from March 5. "For Taiwan, the major concern is aviation safety," he said, adding that Taiwan is unhappy that "the mainland arbitrarily announced (the new flight routes) before the two sides reached consensus." Although China later said the actual flights will stay four nautical miles away from the west side of the M503 route, the government can still not accept it, he continued. Taiwan's concerns have drawn Beijing's attention, which has expressed hope that the two sides can further communicate with each other on the M503 issue. In response, Wang said that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has decided to send a delegation for talks on the issue with the Chinese side that and his ministry will also take part in such communications. The mainland affairs chief also revealed that other issues he will discuss with Zhang during the upcoming meeting will be related to cross-border fishing practices of Chinese fishermen, seaborne garbage originating in China and sea-sand quarrying by the Chinese. They will also talk about flight transit services in Taiwan for Chinese passengers, preparations for joint research on cross-strait economic cooperation and regional economic integration, and the opening of reciprocal offices of two intermediate institutes tasked to handle cross-strait interaction, Wang said. (By Yin Chun-chieh and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-28 18:46 GMT+08:00