Wed, Jan 17, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Now is the time for cross-strait cooperation, says MAC

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The period between now and July is the best window of opportunity to make progress in cross-strait negotiations, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) said yesterday.

Taiwan's government has done its utmost to promote better cross-strait economic interaction, but China has been at turns unresponsive or obstructive, Tung said.

Since the primaries for the 2008 presidential election and the nominations for legislative elections may complicate cross-strait relations when they begin this summer, he suggested that the next six months would be a good opportunity for both sides to finish negotiations on cross-strait charter flights for passengers and goods as well as opening up to Chinese tourists.

Tung urged China to talk to Taiwan and "find common ground on these two issues."

Tung made the remarks during a discussion forum hosted by the Democratic Progressive Party's Department of Chinese Affairs.

The forum discussed the prospects for developments in economic affairs and trade between Taiwan and China this year and invited experts in Chinese affairs to share their views.

Chang Wu-yueh (張五岳), a professor at Tamkang University's Institute of China Research, said that adopting the "Macau Model," which was implemented when both sides reached an agreement on Lunar New Year charter flights last year, was the best way to resume cross-strait negotiations.

The Macau Model refers to the practice where both sides authorize representatives with governmental power to negotiate on the issue under names that both sides can accept.

"Without negotiations that are recognized by the governments of both sides, it will be difficult to make progress or normalize cross-strait economic interaction this year," Chang said.

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