Preparatory consultation held for cross-Strait talks
Updated: 2011-10-20 06:40
TIANJIN - Negotiators from the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on Wednesday held a preparatory consultation for the upcoming seventh round of talks.
ARATS Executive Vice President Zheng Lizhong and SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian co-chaired the consultation to make last-minute preparations for the new round of talks scheduled for Thursday in the northern port city of Tianjin.
The two sides have generally reached a consensus on the contents of an agreement on cross-Straits cooperation on nuclear powerplant safety, and have agreed to submit the agreement to ARATS and SEF leaders for discussion and signing.
They also exchanged views on the preparation work for the implementation of the agreement.
The two sides also discussed and reached consensuses on issues regarding the negotiation of an investment protection agreement as well as issues of strengthening cross-Straits industrial cooperation.
These consensuses will also be submitted to the top negotiators of both sides for their confirmation.
Talks held between ARATS and SEF over the past three years have shown that the mainland and Taiwan have established mutual trust based on a common political cornerstone, and the signing of a series of agreements have brought about a wide range of benefits for compatriots living on both sides of the Strait, Zheng said during a speech given ahead of the consultation.
The peaceful development of the cross-Straits ties is progressing in a smooth and mutually-beneficial way, and the concept of holding negotiations to solve disagreements, strengthening cooperation instead of confrontation and promoting development for mutual good has been widely recognized by the people on both sides, Zheng said.
During his speech, Kao said that the institutional talks between the two sides of the Strait over the past three years have promoted the welfare of the people, enhanced mutual understanding and won support from most of the people in Taiwan.
The upcoming talks featuring the final confirmation and signing of the agreement on cross-Straits nuclear safety cooperation is taken as an active response to public concern.
The nuclear safety issue was off limits for this round of talks when the two sides determined the topics to be discussed late last year during their sixth round of talks.
However, after the radiation leaks from Japan's quake-damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima in March, cross-Straits cooperation in this field has become a public concern on both sides of the Strait.
On March 23, Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou expressed his expectation for the two sides to hold discussions about this issue. The mainland responded to Ma's remarks.
The issue was listed as a topic of the seventh Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Culture Forum held in May, and participants from both sides of the Strait adopted a joint proposal to include the discussion of closer nuclear power safety cooperation in the new round of talks between the ARATS and SEF.
After the forum, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao, during his meeting with Wu Poh-Hsiung, honorary chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party, said that the mainland fully understood Taiwan's willingness for cross-Straits nuclear safety cooperation and called on the two sides to start discussions and reach agreement on the matter at the earliest possible date.
"We hope the signing of the agreement will lead to the establishment of a nuclear safety reporting system between the two sides, promote cooperation among nuclear safety organizations and strengthen exchanges of experiences in nuclear safety regulation and supervision," ARATS President Chen Yunlin said at a welcoming ceremony Wednesday in honor of the Taiwan negotiators headed by SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung.