Cross-Strait talks have 'more tangible results': SEF chairman

09:48, December 18, 2010      

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Procedures of cross-Strait talks had become more "simplified" and the results "more tangible" after five talks over the last two-and-half years, said chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Friday in Taipei.

Chiang Pin-kung told a press conference that the Chinese mainland and Taiwan were expected to sign a medical and health cooperation agreement at the upcoming talks between the SEF and the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), scheduled Tuesday.

Regarding a cross-Strait investment protection agreement, he said the two sides had "reached a preliminary consensus" on it, but still needed time to further exchange views since it was "complicated" and "concerned a wide range of issues."

The investment protection agreement is an important part of the follow-up negotiations after the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) took effect in September.

Chiang said the SEF and the ARATS would "continue to discuss" it in order to reach a deal as soon as possible, as "it is related to people's interests."

The talks will be the sixth round since the two organizations, authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Strait affairs, resumed negotiations in June 2008 after an 11-year suspension.

About 560 reporters, including more than 400 from Taiwan, 60 from the mainland, as well as those from Hong Kong, Macao and foreign countries, will cover the event.

Chiang said a mainland delegation, led by the ARATS executive vice president Zheng Lizhong, was scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Sunday and would hold a preparatory negotiation with SEF vice chairman and secretary general Kao Koong-lian, to decide the agenda of the talks.

ARATS president Chen Yunlin and his wife are expected to arrive in Taipei Monday morning. The two sides are scheduled to hold talks on Tuesday morning and sign the medical and health cooperation agreement in the afternoon.

Chen and his wife will also visit Taipei's National Palace Museum and the Taipei International Flora Expo, before leaving Wednesday noon.

Chiang said next year would mark the 20th anniversary of the SEF's establishment. "The development of cross-Strait relations is hard-won, and the cross-Strait talks are a reflection of people first, care for people's livelihoods and mutual benefits."

Source: Xinhua
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