Delegates from the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) met in Taipei yesterday to examine 15 cross-strait agreements and attempt to forge a consensus on disagreements before the seventh round of cross-strait talks next year.
Among the issues addressed in the four-hour meeting at the Grand Hotel were agreements on cross-strait flights, food safety, agricultural product inspections, joint crime-fighting and mutual legal assistance, as well as Chinese tourism in Taiwan.
At the conclusion of the meeting, ARATS Deputy Chairman Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中) used charts and graphics to illustrate the positive impact of each of the 15 agreements between Taiwan and China, and defended the cooperative mechanisms established via cross-strait negotiations.
On joint crime-fighting and mutual legal assistance, Zheng reiterated that China would repatriate 14 Taiwanese suspected of involvement in an international fraud ring so they could stand trial in Taiwan.
The 14 were deported by the Philippines to China in February over their suspected involvement in a phone fraud scheme.
Zheng told a press conference after the meeting that the two sides would work on the paperwork and repatriate the suspects to Taiwan as soon as possible.
The SEF and ARATS also agreed to send criminals who were seriously ill back to Taiwan and to facilitate the process as a measure to increase the efficiency of joint crime-fighting efforts.
At a separate press conference, SEF Deputy Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) said the two sides also discussed food safety inspection mechanisms and agreed to strengthen cooperation and communication channels to address food safety issues.
A food scare in Taiwan following the discovery of potentially harmful chemicals — including di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, in food and drink products — was not discussed in the meeting, he said.
“The SEF and ARATS will hold regular meetings from now to examine the effects of cross-strait agreements and discuss issues the agreements failed to address,” Kao said.
The SEF and ARATS have held six rounds of cross-strait talks since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office three years ago.
The two sides signed 15 agreements during the negotiations and the seventh round of cross-strait talks is expected to take place sometime next year.
However, Kao and Zheng said they had not decided on a time and place for the next round of cross-strait talks.