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Backgrounder: Key talks between ARATS and SEF
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19:06, November 03, 2008

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The Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) chief Chen Yunlin arrived in Taipei on Monday marking the start of a five-day historic visit to Taiwan.

This is the first meeting ever in Taiwan between leaders of the ARATS and the Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

Founded in 1991 and 1990 respectively, the ARATS and the SEF are authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Straits affairs.

The following are the key talks between the two organizations in the past:

In November 1992, the ARATS and the SEF held talks in Hong Kong. The organizations reached what's called the "1992 Consensus." It states that both sides adhere to the "one- China" principle.

In April 1993, ARATS President Wang Daohan and SEF Chairman KooChen-fu held a historic "Wang-Koo meeting" in Singapore. It was the first public meeting between leaders of the two organizations. They signed four agreements on economic and trade cooperation.

From 1993 to 1998 the two organizations held more than 20 rounds of talks including one between Wang and Koo in Shanghai in 1998.

In 1999, negotiations between the two organizations were suspended. That's when former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui began to pursue "Taiwan Independence".

As of March 2008, cross-Straits relations began to change. The ARATS and SEF agreed to resume talks based on the "1992 Consensus". On May 28, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Hu Jintao met with Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung in Beijing.

From June 12-14, 2008, the ARATS and the SEF leaders held their first talks since 1999 in Beijing. The two signed agreements on weekend charter flights and tourism. They also agreed to hold a second meeting in Taiwan.

On Oct. 27, 2008, the two organizations held a preliminary meeting in Shenzhen, of Guangdong Province, on the mainland. They agreed that ARATS chief Chen would lead a delegation to visit Taiwan from Nov. 3-7. They are set to discuss cross-Straits direct shipping, air transport, postal services and food safety at the meeting.

Source: Xinhua

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