Wed, Jan 12, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chinese official sends letter asking TAA head to talk


A Chinese aviation official has sent a letter to the head of the Taipei Airlines Association (TAA), inviting him to further discuss the details of charter flights during the Lunar New Year holiday for Taiwanese businesspeople based in China.

Pu Zhaozhou (浦照洲), executive director of the China Civil Aviation Association, asked TAA head Michael Lo (樂大信) to lead a delegation of Taiwanese airlines executives to visit China to talk about technical and operational details of the cross-strait charter flights. The meeting place has yet to be set.

Pu said that with less than one month before the Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 9, Taiwan needs to produce a list of names for the delegation and suggest a possible venue for the meeting soon so that arrangements can be made.

This will be the follow-up to a secret meeting between Pu and Lo earlier this month. Lo, at the behest of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), went to Macau where he and Pu reportedly reached an agreement on the charter flights.

Pu, who is also the director of the Office of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs under the Civil Aviation Administration of China, sent the letter through a news release of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

In Taipei, a MAC official reaffirmed yesterday that it is the long-standing policy of the MAC to promote the charter flights for the holiday period, and that negotiations should take into account the existing Taiwan-Hong Kong aviation agreement.

MAC Vice Chairman Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) made the remarks after meeting with a delegation from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which returned from China after meeting with Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, in Beijing on Monday. Chen agreed to the principles of "joint participation, multiple-destinations and two-way flights without stopovers in third countries or areas" for the charter flights.

Liu pointed out that the Taiwan Affairs Office said in October that following the model used to get negotiations on track to create the existing Taiwan-Hong Kong aviation agreement would be feasible, although the KMT delegation said that the insistence of this model would almost certainly stop the flights before they even got off the ground because the Taiwan-Hong Kong talks involved participation by government officials, something that Beijing will not accept.

TAA head Lo was also commissioned by Taiwan to head Taiwan's delegation during the talks to create the accord on Taiwan-Hong Kong flights in 2002, but the MAC and Civil Aeronautics Administration officials also came to the negotiating table to act as advisers for the TAA.

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