Incoming Straits Exchange Foundation chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) yesterday dismissed media reports claiming that he described cross-strait flights as direct flights.
Chiang, who left for Okinawa yesterday, told reporters at the Taoyuan International Airport that he had never said "cross-strait" aviation routes were "direct" aviation routes after media reports quoted him as saying that during a recent interview with Japanese media.
Chiang said that the "cross-strait aviation route" was a compromise term by both sides after they could not agree on whether they should be defined as international or domestic.
"Hopefully negotiation between Taiwan and China will begin as soon as possible so that the new Cabinet can issue administration orders as soon as Ma is sworn in," Chiang said when talking about president-elect Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) campaign policies of implementing weekend direct charter flights, opening up Taiwan to Chinese tourists and deregulating currency exchange between the New Taiwan dollar and the yuan.
What's more, he stressed in the interview that "scheduled direct flights" between the two sides would be implemented next year.
He said that the resumption of cross-strait dialogue would be the first step toward the improvement of cross-strait relations and that he would not rule out the possibility of high-ranking Chinese officials visiting Taiwan or his visiting China after he takes over as SEF chairman.
Before talking with the new chairman of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, Chiang said he would visit China twice in his capacity as KMT vice chairman. The first visit is scheduled for Thursday to express gratitude for the support Taiwanese businesspeople showed for Ma while the second visit is scheduled for May 6 to prepare for the resumption of cross-strait dialogue.