Designation issue to be discussed in cross-strait preparatory meet

The issue of how President Ma Ying-jeou should be addressed by China's top negotiator with Taiwan during an upcoming meeting will be discussed by cross-strait negotiators in Shenzhen in southern China Monday, a senior Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) official said.
Kao Koong-lian, vice chairman and secretary-general of Taiwan's main liaison body with Taiwan, the SEF, said at the airport prior to his departure for Shenzhen that SEF officials will talk again with their Chinese counterparts from the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) on the issue of how Ma should be addressed.
Kao and several SEF officials headed to Shenzhen Monday morning for a one-day meeting with their ARATS counterparts for a second preparatory meeting on the agenda and accords to be signed during the second top-level cross-strait meeting to be held in Taipei early next month.
Taiwan has proposed that Chen Yunlin, China's top negotiator with Taiwan and ARATS president, and his delegation travel to Taiwan Nov. 3 for a five-day visit. Chen is expected to meet with SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung for a second round of negotiations on cross-strait issues.
Chen would be the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Taiwan since the two sides separated after a civil war more than five decades ago.
However, the question of how Chen will address President Ma when they meet in Taipei is an sensitive issue, especially as China still considers Taiwan as its province.
Kao said that although the SEF and ARATS negotiators have exchanged views concerning the agenda and accords expected to be signed, there are still differences between the two sides on some matters.
In addition to the expected agreements on cargo charter flights, direct shipping and postal links, Kao said, the SEF will also propose Monday that cross-strait financial and monetary cooperation in the face of the global economic storm should be on the agenda.
Meanwhile, Kao said, the SEF will also suggest Monday that China render assistance to Taiwan in the island's bid to reposition itself as a new business operation center in the Asia-Pacific region.
"The food safety issue will also be brought up Monday with the ARATS officials, as the recent discovery of melamine tainted dairy products and food ingredients from China has given rise to problems in Taiwan's food industry and caused a scare among consumers, " Kao said.
The Chiang-Chen meeting in Taipei will be a follow-up to a landmark meeting in Beijing between the two in mid-June during which both sides reached an agreement on weekend cross-strait charter flights and the expansion of the number of Chinese tourists allowed to visit Taiwan.
Regular weekend flights were launched July 4, but some believe the flights are not frequent enough and are inconvenient because they must still pass through Hong Kong airspace, due to security concerns, before heading to their final destinations.
Direct shipping links still do not exist.
Fu Don-cheng, a vice chairman of the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council, was also on the flight to Hong Kong with other Taiwanese officials who will transit to Shenzen for the meeting. Fu did not make any public statements at the airport prior to his departure.

Updated : 2021-04-14 04:44 GMT+08:00