No plan to put off cross-strait talks: MAC


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan and China are very likely to hold a new round of negotiations in late October or early November as originally slated, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Liu Te-shun said yesterday.

“Officials from the two quasi-official intermediary bodies still working to set a date for a second meeting in Taiwan between the top negotiators of the two sides, “ Liu said, adding, however, that “the date will be not be fixed until as late as the middle of this month.”

“There are absolutely no plans to delay the date or shorten the process of the slated meeting between Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan’s semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and Chen Yunlin, president of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS),” Liu said.

There has been press speculation that a preparatory meeting between SEF and ARATS officials is expected to be held next week, but Liu did not address the topic.

Commenting on objections concerning Chen visiting Taiwan following the scandal of Chinese adulteration of foodstuffs with the toxic chemical melamine, Liu made it clear that both sides had already agreed to hold systematic negotiations in both Beijing and Taipei.

Chen’s planned visit to Taiwan has come at a sensitive time after toxic milk products imported from China were detected in Taiwan in recent weeks, sparking panic among the public.

Some have protested Chen’s visit, have demanded that China apologize and that Chinese companies compensate Taiwanese consumers over the melamine-tainted milk products.

Chiang and Chen clinched two milestone accords to step up two-way tourism and transportation services in an ice breaking meeting in June in Beijing.

Taiwan and China are projected to discuss the opening of direct cross-strait cargo charter flights and shipping links,the establishment of new passenger charter flight routes, joint oil exploration in the Taiwan Strait and crime-fighting in their next round of negotiations.