Straits exchange leaders to attend historical meeting

Taiwan and China plan to sign agreement expanding cross-strait flights and tourism

Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kun is seen gesturing during a news conference held yesterday in Taipei, one day before his trip to Ch...

Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kun is seen gesturing during a news conference held yesterday in Taipei, one day before his trip to Ch...

Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung, yesterday said he will invite his Chinese counterpart, chairman of China's Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait Chen Yunlin, to visit Taiwan at a time suitable to Chen, when the two officials come together for the upcoming historical meeting in Beijing later this week.
If Chen visits Taiwan, he will be the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Taiwan since 1949 when Taiwan and China split at the end of the Chinese Civil War.
Chiang also noted yesterday that he is expected to sign a deal to expand chartered flights and tourism across the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, hoping that the move can warm up the strained relations between the two rivals.
"The aim is to open up 18 round-trip weekend passenger chartered flights, both from Taiwan to China, and from China to Taiwan," said Chiang yesterday in a press briefing in Taipei, adding that in the future, the government will even allow Chinese airline companies to set up branches in Taiwan.
He said that direct chartered cargo flights will be at the top of the agenda in the upcoming talks with Beijing. Other important issues, including launching direct sea transportation between Taiwan and China, expanding the "mini three links" between Taiwan's outlying islands and China's coastal cities, as well as allowing domestic banking businesses to enter the Chinese market, will be listed among the priority agenda in the future cross-strait talks, Chiang noted.
Chiang made the remarks in a press briefing yesterday before flying to Beijing today for what will be the second dialogue between Taiwan and China in a decade.
Dialogue was first held between the two semi-official organizations, Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's ARATS, in 1993, but China suspended it in 1998 to retaliate against Taiwanese leaders' advocation of independence.
Chiang said yesterday that the upcoming visit will also serve as an important icebreaking tour, to further open up formerly long-stalled cross-strait exchanges. According to the schedule released by the SEF, the delegation lead by Chiang will arrive in Beijing at 3:10 today. The delegation will attend a dinner party prepared by the host later the same day.
The widely anticipated Chiang-Chen Meeting will be held tomorrow morning in Beijing's Diaoyutai National Guest Hotel, said the SEF.
The two sides will sign an agreement on Friday before Taiwan's delegation heads back to Taiwan on Saturday. Chiang disclosed that he would use his spare time in Beijing to visit the city's Olympics stadia, and also to pay his respects at a tomb containing the personal effects of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, located in a temple in China's capital city.
He refused, however, to disclose whether he would meet with Chinese leader Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) during his trip.

Updated : 2021-03-04 11:45 GMT+08:00