• Directory of Taiwan

Talks to build trust across Taiwan Strait: SEF chairman

Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman
Chiang Pin-kung said Wednesday his upcoming talks with Beijing will be a new beginning for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, a mission which he defined as a "tour of mutual trust and negotiations."
Chiang made the remarks prior to his departure for China for dialogue after a nine-year hiatus.
"There will certainly be a second and third round of talks after this first one. We hope to create a win-win situation across the strait and allow the people on both sides to live a better life, " Chiang said at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The talks, to be led by Chiang and his Chinese counterpart Chen Yunlin of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), will be the first high-level meetings in nine years between the two semi-official intermediary bodies authorized to handle cross-strait affairs in the absence of official contacts between the two sides.
High on the agenda of the negotiations are the launch of direct cross-strait charter flights on weekends and the arrival of Chinese tourists to Taiwan.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan, who saw Chiang off at the airport, said the talks represent the reopening of institutionalized dialogue between Taiwan and China and will "write a new chapter in history."
"We hope Chairman Chiang and his delegation will successfully accomplish the mission authorized by the government, laying the foundation for the stability and normalization of cross-strait relations, " Lai said.
A meeting between the late SEF Chairman Koo Chen-fu and the late ARATS Chairman Wang Daohan in Singapore in 1993 led to a series of systematic exchanges between Taiwan and China, which had shunned official contacts since the KMT retreated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war.
But the exchanges ground to a halt in 1999 when then-President Lee Teng-hui described cross-strait ties as a special state-to-state relationship, and Beijing continued to refuse dialogue with Taiwan during the eight-year administration of President Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
The icy relations began to warm up after the March 22 election of President Ma Ying-jeou, who has proposed that the two sides resume dialogue on the basis of the "1992 consensus" that allows both sides to agree to disagree on the meaning of "one China."