Thu, Nov 04, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business leaders urge expansion of cross-strait travel

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday expressed pessimism in resuming cross-strait dialogue before the December legislative elections are concluded.

Wu told the General Chamber of Commerce (全國商總) yesterday that "China, and not Taipei, is reluctant to resume cross-strait dialogue ... adopting a `wait-and-see' approach before the upcoming legislative elections."

Wu added that the council is making efforts to facilitate charter and direct cargo flights across the Strait before the Lunar New Year pending China's agreement to open up channels of communication.

"[Taipei] is not opposed to the idea of direct round-trip cargo flights across the Strait without having to make any stops, but negotiation is prerequisite to these kinds of flights," Wu said.

Wu, who viewed charter flights before the Lunar New Year as less of an issue -- since a precedent for such flights was set last year -- promised to accelerate preparation for the flights once China gives the go-ahead.

Upon invitation from the business group, Wu hosted a luncheon and delivered a speech to the chamber members, some of whom urged the DPP government to relax restrictions on China-bound business expansion plans.

When some chamber members urged Wu to open up the nation to Chinese tourists, the chairman said that the council was mulling measures to relax the relevant restrictions, but expects Beijing to restrain its citizens from travelling to Taiwan.

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