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Cross-strait talks set to deliver new breakthrough (roundup)

Cross-strait talks set to deliver new breakthrough (roundup)

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) Top negotiators from Taiwan and China will meet in the central Chinese city of Nanjing Sunday to seal three pacts and issue a joint statement, which are expected to deliver new breakthroughs in relations across the Taiwan Strait.
Prior to his departure for Nanjing Saturday morning, Taiwan's chief delegate, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung, said the agreements will increase economic and financial cooperation amid President Ma Ying-jeou's efforts to enhance Taiwan's competitiveness in the global market and will ensure the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan also said Saturday in an interview that the financial cooperation agreement to be signed Sunday and a joint statement on opening Taiwan to Chinese investment to be issued simultaneously will pave the way for normalization of trade and economic relations and improve order in the civic exchanges between the two sides.
According to Lai, opening up to investment from China will be an important step in normalizing trade and economic ties across the strait, because the one-way movement of investment from Taiwan to China over the past 20 years has tilted the balance of cross-strait capital flows.
Taiwanese companies are believed to have invested more than US$100 billion in China and business leaders often compalin they are hurt by restrictions on finance and trade.
Lai said any investment agreement with China will bar Chinese access to sectors deemed critical to Taiwan's national security and economic well-being.
The agreement on mutual judicial assistance and cooperation in fighting crime will mark yet another step forward in cross-strait engagements and in Taiwan's quest to bring to justice many of its notorious fugitives in China, SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian said in Nanjing Saturday after wrapping up a preparatory session for Sunday's meeting.
Furthermore, Kao added, the agreement on the launch of regular cross-strait flights will facilitate cross-strait tourism development and boost mutual understanding and trust through increased civilian exchanges.
Referring to the significance of the four documents to be signed by Chiang and his Chinese counterpart, Chen Yunlin, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) , Kao stressed that cross-strait relations will enter a new stage following the Chiang-Chen talks Sunday.
More than 260 reporters from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and many other countries have registered to cover Sunday's event, which will be held at a hillside resort on the outskirts of Nanjing.
During his talks with Chen, Chiang is also likely to officially raise a proposal for Taiwan and China to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).
President Ma has expressed strong support for the establishment of the ECFA, stressing that it is similar to a free trade agreement (FTA) with no political strings attached.
He has argued that if Taiwan does not sign such an agreement with China, it risks being marginalized and losing its competitiveness, as China and neighboring countries are about to sign FTAs and as Beijing continues to block Taiwan's efforts to reach FTA agreements with other countries.
The SEF and ARATS are intermediary bodies set up by Taiwan and China, respectively, to handle cross-strait affairs in the absence of official ties.
The Chiang-Chen meeting Sunday will be the third of its kind since the resumption of regular cross-strait dialogue less than one year ago after a nine-year hiatus.
The meeting signifies continued warming of relations between the two former rivals since the inauguration of Ma, whose administration has made it a priority to ease tensions and improve relations with China.
In their earlier rounds of talks, the two sides agreed to begin daily charter flights and direct sea and postal service and to increase the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan.
(By Sofia Wu and Y.F.Low)




Updated : 2021-10-20 12:27 GMT+08:00