Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Negotiator says relationship with Beijing ‘healthy’

Staff writer, with CNA

China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Deming talks to reporters after a meeting with Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Lin Join-sane, not pictured, in Huaian, Jaingsu Province, China, yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Interactions between Taiwan and China are in a healthy state despite new problems that are testing the two nations, Beijing’s top negotiator for Taipei said yesterday.

China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) said that the two sides would “engage in active consultations” on an upcoming agreement for free trade in merchandise and the exchange of representative offices.

Chen made the comments when he met with his Taiwanese counterpart, Lin Join-sane (林中森), chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation, on the sidelines of a forum attended by Taiwanese businesspeople in China.

It was the first meeting between the two since former Mainland Affairs Council deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) was sacked on Aug. 16 for allegedly leaking official documents. Chang also lost his job as Lin’s deputy at the foundation, the organization responsible for the conduct of Taiwan’s relations with China.

There have been suggestions that the circumstances surrounding Chang’s removal could make it more difficult for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government to pursue his China policies, including efforts to sign new major agreements with Beijing and to have an agreement for free trade in services — signed in June last year — clear the legislature.

Lin said that the two sides are busy with issues that emerged as items requiring negotiations from the previous round of high-level bilateral talks, held in February this year.

In addition to the open meeting yesterday morning, Chen and Lin later yesterday also held a 30-minute meeting behind closed doors.

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