Thu, Aug 05, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Straits Exchange Foundation allowed to delegate tasks to other civic groups

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

The semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation has long acted as a proxy for the government in cross-strait affairs, but the Mainland Affairs Council yesterday said it would soon allow the foundation to delegate certain responsibilities to other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

"In order to resume cross-strait negotiations, to ensure that the scope of the government's jurisdiction is not compromised and to prevent partisan interests from determining prerequisites for negotiations, we plan to implement a flexible and pragmatic method, a system that would allow the foundation to delegate work to NGOs," said Jeff Yang (楊家駿), director of the council's department of legal affairs.

Council officials pointed to welfare organizations as potential candidates for taking on some of the foundation's tasks.

However, he stressed that organizations delegated to carry out certain responsibilities relating to cross-strait exchanges would not be able to enter into any contracts with China and would have to be "trustworthy, experienced, and professional."

The announcement follows the naming of Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) as the council's new vice chairman as well as the foundation's secretary-general, a move that is likely to shorten the distance between the two agencies.

The foundation is nominally an NGO, but carries out cross-strait tasks on behalf of the Cabinet-level council, the government's primary decision-making body on cross-strait affairs.

Yang said yesterday that a recent personnel shuffle at the foundation would assist it with its work preparing for cross-strait negotiations.

He said that both the government and the foundation were prepared to take part in negotiations with China as long as there were no preconditions.

He also said that the council would announce the new delegation measures when the cross-strait environment improved.

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