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New round of cross-strait talks to focus on local issues in Kinmen

Taipei, Feb. 4 (CNA) Taiwan's top China policymaking body on Wednesday gave a preview of issues slated to be discussed in a new round of top-level cross-strait talks scheduled for Saturday, including issues that affect the daily lives of residents of the sparsely populated Kinmen islands. The upcoming meeting will be the third high-level cross-strait talks between Zhang Zhijun (???), the minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, and his Taiwanese counterpart, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-Chi (???). MAC spokesperson Wu Mei-hung (???) said that Wang is expected to raise a number of issues affecting residents of Kinmen, located some 200 km west of Taiwan but just a few km off the coast of China's Fujian Province. The issues include illegal ocean dumping, violations of territorial water fishing rights, unauthorized mining of sea sand, a plan to source fresh water from Fujian to Kinmen, and measures to promote tourism in Taiwan's outlying islands, she said, expressing a wish that China will offer "response plans." The meeting will also review progress in ongoing negotiations since the previous round of talks last November, such as the Cross-Strait Trade in Goods Agreement, the push for Taiwan to serve as a hub for international flights out of China, and participation in regional trade blocs. Wang is also expected to convey Taiwan's firm objections to China's newly drawn flight routes that run alarmingly close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait -- called M503 -- and three east-west routes -- W121, W122 and W123 -- that connect with it. Wu added that the meeting in Kinmen will not be affected by the crash of TransAsia Airways Flight 235 in Taipei Wednesday with 31 Chinese passengers aboard. Kinmen County Magistrate Chen Fu-hai (???) said that residents of the former military frontline know firsthand the value of peace, and that they do not wish to see the talks become politicized. Chang Wu-ueh (???), head of the Graduate Institute of China Studies at Tamkang University, said although such talks may not produce tangible results, the exchange of ideas and dialogue is increasingly becoming an integral part of promoting cross-strait ties. (By Yin Chun-chieh and Ted Chen)

Updated : 2021-09-17 06:49 GMT+08:00