CHINA> Taiwan, HK, Macao
Straits talks yield full agreement
By Wu Jiao (China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2008-06-13 07:16

The first cross-Straits talks in nearly a decade Thursday resulted in agreement on a broad range of issues to boost bilateral exchanges.

Chen Yunlin (R), chairman of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), shake hands after signing the agreements on cross-Straits weekend charted flights and mainland tourists' traveling to Taiwan, in Beijing, June 13, 2008. [Xinhua] 

On the first day of their meeting, the two sides agreed to set up permanent representative offices to coordinate contacts.

Top mainland negotiator Chen Yunlin also accepted an invitation by his Taiwan counterpart to visit the island later this year, a move which analysts believe will inject momentum into the development of cross-Straits ties.

"As wished by people on the two sides, talks resumed today after nearly 10 years' suspension," Chen - chairman of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) - said, referring to tense cross-Straits ties since 1999, especially during the rule of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

"We feel a great sense of responsibility at this glorious mission and we must spare no effort in realizing the aspirations of people on the two sides.

"Whether cross-Straits relations improve depends on whether our negotiations proceed smoothly," Chen said as the talks opened at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse at around 9 am.

Echoing Chen, Chiang Pin-kun - chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) - said the two organizations had established mutual trust after recent contacts and the two will serve as a bridge for cross-Straits consultations.

"The talks mark a new start," he said, adding that the negotiations should lay the foundation for "a long-term peaceful relationship".

During the talks, Chen and Chiang agreed on strengthening the exchange of visits between ARATS and SEF personnel, and enhancing economic, cultural and social visits at various levels.

In addition to the ARATS and the SEF setting up representative offices, the two sides agreed to resume the liaison officer system to handle emergency cases related to life and property of people on both sides.

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