Chen Yunlin (left), president of the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and his island counterpart Chiang Ping-kung, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation shake hands before their historic talks in Taipei, November 4, 2008. [chinadaily.com.cn/By Xing Zhigang] Visit to boost cross-Straits ties
TAIPEI -- The heads of the two main negotiating bodies of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan sat down together in Taipei on Tuesday morning for their first ever summit in Taiwan.
The mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) president, Chen Yunlin, and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman, Chiang Pin-kung, began talks in Taipei.
Chen thanked Taiwan compatriots for their understanding and support for the meeting, which he said was a milestone for the positive development of the cross-strait relationship.
"We feel relieved and honored to help the peaceful development of the cross-strait relationship and promote the mutual benefits of the compatriots on both sides of the Strait," Chen said.
Chen said that once progress had been made on direct flights, shipping and postal services between the mainland and Taiwan, the ARATS and SEF would discuss financial cooperation and the normalization of economic ties.
He said food safety will also be discussed during the talks.
"We will try our best to meet the demands and requirements of the Taiwan people and try to reach agreements on the basis of mutual benefits and reciprocity," Chen said.
He said that the ARATS and SEF will also discuss means to increase the number of mainland tourists to Taiwan, and set agenda for meetings and talks between the two organizations in the next stage.
"We believe that with the efforts of both sides, direct links for transport and mail services that compatriots on both sides have been longed for over the past 30 years will become a reality, " Chen said.
He added that this will open a more convenient channel for cross-strait personnel exchanges and economic cooperation, increase the welfare of the people on both sides and bring cross-strait relations into a new stage.
In June, the ARATS and the SEF held talks in Beijing and signed two agreements, almost 10 years after the suspension of talks.