China, Taiwan Begin Historic Talks on Closer Ties

AFP has an update on ’s groundbreaking visit to Taipei:

Beijing’s representative Chen Yunlin and his local counterpart Chiang Pin-kung shook hands as they took their seats at Taipei’s Grand Hotel for the discussions that are expected to ink deals potentially worth billions of dollars.

“Now we are very close to agreement, and I hope we will reach a consensus this afternoon on shipping, air transport, postal services and food security,” said Chiang, who head’s Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

Late Monday, the two sides announced they had agreed to triple direct passenger flights to 108 per week and expand services to a total of 21 Chinese cities.

The Democratic Progressive Party is protesting the talks. From China Post:

DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen demanded that the Chiang-Chen meeting, which is scheduled to start today, be open and transparent.

“The entire process should be made public,” Tsai urged.

Oversight by parliament and the general public is necessary over the meeting, where the four agreements on direct flights, mail service, direct shipping and food safety will be inked, Tsai stressed.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese journalists, via the Association of Taiwan Journalists, are protesting their treatment by the National Security Bureau during the talks. From China Post:

In a statement, the ATJ charged the NSB with trying to limit freedom of press workers covering a visit to Taipei by Chen Yunlin, chairman of the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).

On Sunday, the day before Chen’s arrival, a Central News Agency cameraman was manhandled by NSB agents, while he was covering a function of Chen’s advance party at the Grand Hotel in Taipei.

Read also Xinhua’s backgrounder on the talks.

November 3, 2008 10:02 PM
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Categories: Politics, Taiwan