MAC TAKES CHINA'S RESPONSE AS HARBINGER OF RESUMED TALKS
Central News Agency
Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Taiwan is willing to regard China's initial response to its initiatives for bilateral talks on two matters of mutual concern as a harbinger of China's willingness to return to the negotiating table, a senior official said Thursday.
Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu made the remarks while meeting with a visiting delegation from the Czech Republic's Senate foreign affairs and defense committees. "As Beijing didn't turn down our initiatives outright, we would like to consider its response a harbinger of Beijing's willingness to resume dialogue across the Taiwan Strait," Wu told his guests.
Premier Frank Hsieh said Monday that the government has asked the Taipei Airlines Association (TAA) and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to talk with Beijing on the opening of direct cross-strait charter cargo flights and the sale of Taiwan fruit to China.
The two private groups were asked to act on behalf of the government because of Beijing's refusal to have any official contacts with Taiwan, which would lend credit to Taiwan's claim to be an independent sovereign state.
A Chinese official in charge of Taiwan affairs said Wednesday in Beijing that China would like to exchange views with Taiwan on charter cargo flights even though it believes direct passenger flights are more urgently needed.
As to the negotiations on imports of Taiwan fruit, the official said Beijing would prefer to talk with the Taiwan Provincial Farmer's Association. But he did not rule out the possibility of accepting TAITRA as an intermediary. "We hope China can make a clearer and more definite response so that the long-stalled cross-strait dialogue can start soon, " Wu said.
During their talks, the Czech parliamentarians said they look forward to seeing China move toward democracy after achieving an economic boom.
In response, Wu said the government-funded Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, which was established two years ago, is cooperating with non-government organizations in the United States and European countries to promote democratic development around the world.
Wu said he hopes China can lift its ban on Taiwan media outlets' online versions. Should that be the case, he said, those online newspapers could become the best channels for Chinese citizens to understand Taiwan.
The nation's top mainland policy planner further said he is hopeful that China can negotiate with Taiwan on technical details for Chinese citizens to make sightseeing trips to Taiwan. "We are willing to open our doors to Chinese people so that they can experience Taiwan's democratic way of life, sowing the seeds of liberal democracy in their minds," Wu added.
(By Sofia Wu)
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