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MAC to set up regular communication mechanism with TAO

ROC Central News Agency

2014/02/11 20:39:48

Nanjing, Feb. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's top official in charge of planning China policy said here Tuesday that he and his Chinese counterpart agreed during a historic meeting to establish a regular communication mechanism.

Wang Yu-chi, minister of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), made the remarks at a news conference after a three-hour, closed-door meeting with Zhang Zhijun, minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO).

Both sides agreed to ensure the establishment of such a mechanism to facilitate quick and efficient communication, Wang said.

He said the mechanism will not interfere with the one established between the two semi-official bodies on each side of the Taiwan Strait -- Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits -- but will complement it.

He also said that the issue of a possible meeting between Republic of China President Ma Ying-jeou and mainland Chinese President Xi Jinping at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in October in Beijing was not raised in the talks.

Wang said that the issue was 'not on the agenda in the first place' and that he felt no regret about it.

Wang had said previously that if the two leaders were to meet, the APEC meeting would be the most appropriate occasion.

As for the proposed establishment of representative offices on each side by the MAC and the TAO to allow humanitarian visits to detainees on each side, Wang said the two sides held initial discussions and left room for further communication.

TAO spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said the establishment of regular communications between the two sides will help the overall development of cross-strait relations.

He cited Zhang as saying in the talks that such a communication mechanism would be favorable to the overall development of cross-strait relations and a 'pragmatic approach.'

Zhang also said that he is willing to do his best to take care of the needs of the Taiwanese people, and that the top priority will be the passage of the stalled service trade agreement that was signed by both sides last June.

Next on the list will be a commodity trade agreement and follow-up talks related to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, Ma cited Zhang as saying.

Zhang said he hopes follow-up talks on ECFA can be completed by the end of this year.

Zhang raised the issue of allowing media outlets to set up permanent offices in each other's territory. Wang's reply was that Taiwan is more concerned about the equal flow of information across the straits and he hopes both sides will keep discussing the issue.

Asked about a possible meeting between the heads of state on each side, Ma said the establishment of a regular communication channel between the MAC and the TAO will be the first major step, adding that 'after the first step, there will be a second step.'

He also said that Zhang gladly accepted an invitation to visit Taiwan, an event that will need to be worked out by both sides.

Wang, who led a delegation to Nanjing earlier that day, is the first incumbent MAC head to visit China.

(By Eva Feng, Scarlett Chai and Lilian Wu)

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